Tag Archives: scandal

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.


You Had Me At “Hi”: Scandal Goes Through the Looking Glass, People

18 Apr

But is it all a dream?

By Alexa Day

“For of all sad words of tongue and pen

The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”

— John Greenleaf Whittier

Two immensely powerful words: what if.

They lead to a world that doesn’t exist, an imagined world where we have the chance to fix mistakes or indulge in every imprudent temptation we avoided in real life. “What if” creates a world full of adventures and devoid of regrets.

It can be a place to turn around, to get back on course.

Scandal needed to spend a little time in the World of What If.

By the time I stopped watching, Scandal had lost its way. It had drifted from tempestuous romance and outrageous plot twists into espionage and family dysfunction. Along the way, it shed lots of viewers. Not long ago, the series hit all-time low ratings.

But last week, for its 100th episode, Scandal spent an hour in the World of What If. Trapped between Fitz and Jake in a far less sexy way than I’d become used to, Olivia wonders how different her life would be if she hadn’t agreed to rig the presidential election for Fitz so long ago. It’s a tempting fantasy, even for one who’s had to decide between two men like Fitz and Jake, and she indulges in the daydream thoroughly.

At first it seems that things would be easier in a world where Defiance never happened. Without the presidency to support it, Fitz’s marriage to Mellie doesn’t survive. Without the presidency to impede it, Fitz is free to marry Olivia. Just a few minutes in, and the what if episode gives us estranged Scandal fans something we’ve wanted for a long time. We get a very stylish wedding, complete with a classic soul soundtrack. We’ve gone back in time to a place before B613, before the weekly Shonda-logue. We’ve returned to a Scandal with familiar faces gone too soon, long stares heavy with naked longing, and that greeting.


This gratification is wonderful while it lasts.

Everything seems fine at first. It’s better than fine. It’s like all the things that chased me away from Scandal have simply been wished away. But while an alternate universe might change a person’s surroundings, it does little to change one’s character. Olivia still doesn’t know how to be happy in a relationship, and without the presidency, Fitz has enough time to worry about his place in her life. It’s not long before they’re fighting over something again, but this is not the familiar back and forth that drove me away from the series. This time, Fitz wants a divorce.

This still felt like good news to me, and not like before, in the prime universe, when I just wanted the two of them to stop talking to each other if they couldn’t be together. I was hopeful, at least partially because I didn’t want to let go of the daydream. Maybe, in this alternate world, they’d find their way back to each other, even if they only managed to stay put for the rest of the hour.

Alternate universe Easter eggs made the time pass quickly. Without black ops, Huck and Quinn are as close to normal people as their natures permit. Huck is more disheveled than his prime universe self, but he’s close enough to Olivia to walk her down the aisle. He’s a superfan of a Bachelor-esque dating show featuring his one-time prime universe sweetheart, Quinn. For her part, Quinn’s a believer in true love, happily ever after, and going down on Fitz behind closed doors. She’s in it for the attention, not unlike her counterpart.

Cyrus catches Mellie at a vulnerable moment, on the outside of the wedding, trying to peek in. Cyrus is still in the closet and trying to stay there, so when his pep talk with the heartbroken Mellie leads to a kiss, the opportunistic Cyrus makes sure that kiss leads to marriage … and later, to her very own presidential campaign. Cyrus has always wanted the Oval Office for himself. Running the country through Mellie would work just fine for him.

It’s crazy, soaptastic fun, loaded with twists and backed with a well-curated soundtrack. But no one stays in the alternate universe forever, and finally we travel back to Olivia and Fitz and their future, together or apart.

Fitz and Olivia actually manage a compromise, an agreement that has a chance of making them both happy. It probably shouldn’t be a huge surprise, right? There’s no sense in traveling to an alternate universe to make the same mistakes for the same reasons. But why are these two people coming together now? They still have the same hangups. I still don’t think either of them knows how to be in a relationship.

But Olivia and Fitz have a much easier time in the mirror world because no one is president. And as Olivia returns to reality, I think she realizes that her reality is about to merge with that daydream as Fitz’s term in the White House ends.

What does it all mean, now that the dream is over? Are we returning to the Scandal of old? Will I be on the edge of my seat, waiting for “hi”?

I don’t know. Right now, I only know that I watched an entire episode of Scandal, and I’m thinking about watching the next one. That hasn’t happened in way too long.

Are you watching Scandal? Big fan of the alternate universe plotline? I’ll meet you in the comments.

And follow Lady Smut. What if has never been so much fun!

Heading to Atlanta for the RT Booklovers Convention? So are we.

Crowns! Fetish Toys! Booooks! All can be won at the Ladysmut.com reader event — Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever, at the RT Booklovers Convention.  Goodybags to first 100 people in line! Be rewarded for your naughty or sweet past on Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. Link: https://www.rtconvention.com/event/never-have-you-ever-ever-ever

Beautifully Seamless: Those Few Seconds of Scandal

1 Dec
Olivia Pope in less complicated times.

Olivia Pope in less complicated times.

By Alexa Day

Last time I was here, I used this space to do a lot of complaining about television. So many annoyances. All the grievances. Oh, yes, there was wailing and the gnashing of teeth.

I said I’d return to Satisfaction and its unorthodox take on marriage, and I will. That’s going to be important. Right now, Satisfaction might be the only thing that gives me hope that I’ll survive marriage.

But before I do that, I want to correct an oversight.

Last time I was here, I said I was ready to write off Scandal for good. The decision pained me; the show has been near and dear to my heart for a long time. But I couldn’t bear any more of the come-here-go-away with Olivia and Fitz. The two of them were driving me crazy.

I was so worn out with them that I wasn’t really paying an optimal level of attention to them and their problems during the finale, which aired shortly after my last post. I was actually in the kitchen, fooling around with something else and not looking at the TV at all, when I heard Aretha Franklin singing “Silent Night.”

I smiled to myself. I have to hand it to Shonda, I thought. She uses the best music.

And so, from the kitchen, I listened to Aretha compete with Olivia Pope’s father, ranting in his intense way about how familial intimacy is destructive. I made a mental note to look up that recording of “Silent Night,” wound up my work in the kitchen, and went back to the TV, where I continued to be annoyed with Scandal‘s entire cast of characters. When the show was over, I shook my head and asked myself whether I’d be back for the second half of the season.

And that was it.

Later that night, I got a call from my mother about Olivia Pope’s abortion.

“What abortion?” I asked.

Mom — I don’t know how she deals with me — said Olivia had gotten an abortion on Scandal and asked what I thought of how the show had handled this.

I was completely lost. Where had she heard about an abortion? This was impossible. If Olivia had gotten an abortion on screen, the whole universe would be talking about it. Perhaps Mom was confused. I loved Mellie’s Planned Parenthood filibuster and thought she deserved a fist bump. That must have been what she was talking about.

But I was wrong. While I was in the kitchen listening to Aretha’s beautiful music and Rowan Pope’s ugly words, Olivia Pope had gotten an abortion. I missed it entirely. No one mentioned it. No one drew attention to it. And when I went back to the couch, I had no idea it had taken place.

That’s impressive. That is masterfully handled.

Let us leave aside for the moment our feelings on abortion generally and focus on what has actually happened.

This woman — the most visible woman on the show, its central character — made this decision, followed through on it, and went on with her life with no involvement from the rest of us. If we had any business of our own to mind at that precise moment, as I did, we would never have known about any of this.

Olivia’s abortion had nothing to do with me. I basically blinked and missed it.

I got through most of the next day before NPR confirmed what Mom had told me. Olivia Pope had in fact had an abortion on prime time television. I was on the way to a party and had to stop and call her to tell her I was wrong. Mom — I don’t know how she deals with me — knew I was wrong; she’d actually watched the episode. Dealing with me takes immense patience.

She repeated her question. What did I think of the way it was handled?

Well, I missed the whole thing. I don’t think she’s being treated any differently. Her own world has probably changed irrevocably, but we don’t know. We spectators aren’t privy to that much of her inner life.

In essence, it isn’t any of our damned business. Her decision had literally no effect on me at all.

And I think that was communicated brilliantly.

Stick with Lady Smut. Don’t miss a thing.

Searching for Satisfaction in the Season of Sweeps

17 Nov
Sorry, guys. Not even your super cute matching haircuts could save you.

Sorry, guys. Not even your super cute matching haircuts could save you.

By Alexa Day

This used to be my favorite time of year. Not because of the holidays. Not because of the change in the seasons.

This is the season of sweeps. I’m a TV junkie, and I used to love watching my favorite shows pull out all the stops to get my attention during this run for the ratings.

Who would become pregnant? Who has an evil twin? Would someone fall down an elevator shaft?

Anything could happen, and nothing appeals to me more as a writer than a world where anything at all can happen.

This year has been disappointing. I haven’t written TV off altogether, but my old standbys have let me down.

I was on the fence about Sleepy Hollow at the end of its second season. This season, it’s been scheduled opposite Scandal, which sends a pretty powerful message, right? I figured I had to choose between an actual (if dysfunctional) interracial relationship and the mere hope of one, so I chose Scandal. A couple of weeks in, I wondered if I’d been wrong (I’ll get to that in a second), so I took a peek at Ichabod and company during a Scandal commercial break.

During my peek, I gathered that Something Awful had happened to my second favorite lady bad-ass; Abbie had been hospitalized after a run in with the supernatural enemy of the week. Ichabod looked on, concerned, but he still manages to comfort Abbie’s sister and fellow bad-ass, Jenny.

“She’s strong,” he says. That’s right. He says Abbie’s so, so strong.

Well, so much for that, I thought. Abbie has officially crossed over from potential love interest (I know, I saw potential long after most people threw in the towel) and became Strong Black Woman. Now, I don’t necessarily have to have an interracial relationship in everything I watch, but you all know how much I hate seeing a perfectly available, perfectly compatible black woman passed over for no good reason. This was my issue with Magic Mike XXL, remember?

Why did we pass on Jake again?

Why did we pass on Jake again?

I went back to Scandal, but all is not well in the land of Olitz, either.

I’m relieved to find that Jake has finally wised the hell up and stopped chasing after Liv. I figured he’d be pouty and kind of psycho for a really long time once he came to grips with the idea that Olivia would never choose him, no matter what he did for her (and to her — the man’s a machine). But Jake is done. Liv doesn’t seem to understand that, but he’s been doing a great job of moving on.

As for Olivia, she has everything she wants. The most powerful man in the world has chosen a side — and it’s hers. Everyone knows they’re together. She’s sleeping in the White House. He’s popped the question.

And true to form, Olivia is pushing him away. Again.

She keeps calling Jake, though. Big ups to him for reminding her that he is now nothing to her.

I think this is part of the Olivia Pope mystique. I don’t think she’ll be able to make a choice that makes her happy — at least not for long. I don’t know why she feels this need to deny herself happiness, but I’m worn out. I’m tired. I don’t think I have time for any more of this.

Hope, however, springs eternal.

I don’t want to delve too deeply into The Walking Dead because it deserves its own post, but I will say that I am willing to overlook Rick’s little smooch with Jessie. For the time being. I can give Rick a pass because there’s enough story elsewhere to keep me occupied (are we about to find that Glenn and Negan are in the same place?) and because, honestly, this whole Jessie thing just started. I let Ichabod ignore Abbie for two seasons before I gave up.

Anyway, still watching The Walking Dead.

I’m also returning to Satisfaction.

Put very simply, Satisfaction is the story of a man, Neil Truman, who discovers that his wife Grace has been seeing a male escort. He responds, ultimately, by becoming a male escort himself.

Satisfaction is absolutely loaded with sex, my friends. Oh my, yes. If you’re not sure your TV regimen is sexy enough, consider adding Satisfaction.

I don’t know why I let go of Satisfaction during its first season, but when I peeked at it again a couple of weeks ago, well into the current season, I found that Grace has responded to Neil’s career choices by launching a male escort business with her husband.

Grace, I salute you, madam. Nothing like a joint venture to bring two people closer together, right?

I want to admit now, publicly, that I was wrong to ditch Satisfaction. I was led astray by two other shows that I knew or had reason to know would ultimately betray and disappoint me. I’m just glad Neil and Grace and their complicated, sex-laden lives are still here for me. I hope we can all make it up to each other during a lovely Thanksgiving binge.

But what about you, fellow TV junkies? What are you getting into? What are you giving up on?

And are you following Lady Smut? We won’t jump the shark on you.

Party (of Two) Line: Hot, Scandalous Phone Sex

9 Nov
No, what are yooooou wearing?

No, what are yooooou wearing?

By Alexa Day

Last week, I wrote about the way Tinder makes ordering a hookup simpler than ordering a pizza. I think that’s a good thing. The world is a complicated place, and a lot of us don’t have time and effort to spare.

By the same token, our complicated world holds sexy, hidden treasures that can only be unlocked with the investment of time and effort. Sexting is one of those things. Effort is the difference between the message that makes its recipient blush all afternoon and the message that goes up on #ByeFelipe. It shouldn’t take long to figure out how far one can go with a sext or to isolate the perfect tone and subject matter. But it’s possible to just dash something off and hope for the best, and so that’s what too many sexters are doing.

Phone sex is headed down the same path. At the outset, I think sexting is forcing phone sex onto the periphery, which is not good news for any of us. The real problem, though, is that the initiator is all too often unwilling to seduce the listener before going right to the sex. As the meme goes, one does not simply call and ask, “What are you wearing?”

Unless one wants to hear the unvarnished and unsexy truth.

This past Thursday, on Scandal, the leader of the free world engaged in a little phone sex with his favorite fixer. The phone sex component of the call didn’t take that long, but Fitz made the most of the time he had, as one would expect the President to do. And he got the job done. By the time he was done, Olivia Pope was squirmy and uncomfortable in the nicest possible way, which is certainly what he wanted.

In fairness, Scandal phone sex has a couple of advantages that our real-world phone sex is lacking. First, the man on the phone is Tony Goldwyn. He could call me with time, date and weather, and I don’t think I’d need anything more explicit from him.

Hellooooo, Felipe! Click to buy.

Hellooooo, Felipe! Click to buy.

Because more is more on prime time, though, Scandal gives us the benefit of screenwritten phone sex. It’s easy to take things like that for granted on television … right up until one has real-world, unscripted phone sex for the first time. No one on television has ever created a long silence by wondering if now is the time to start with the phone sex — unless that’s the entire point.

Without a Hollywood-hot voice on the other end of the line, and without professionally written dialogue, it’s still possible to keep the daily check-in call smoking hot. All we need to do is lead up to the sexy part. Foreplay always matters, right? Phone sex starts with phone seduction, which means that the party who called should shoulder the burden. None of this “What would you do if I were watching TV on the couch with you?” nonsense. I’d keep watching TV on the couch, dude; you called me. #ByeFelipe.

Phone sex makes me think of Nicholson Baker’s Vox. Even if Monica Lewinsky gave it to Bill Clinton as a present, even if it opens with that question (“What are you wearing?”), even if the whole story is two people on a phone sex line, Vox is still a big deal for me. Sexy, sophisticated, and a good time. Definitely worth looking into.

And while you’re ducking the mainstream, go get your copy of The Lady Smut Book of Dark Desires. Vanilla will still be there when you get back, I promise.  Are you coming to our facebook party? Here’s your invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/757463174327006/

Choose Your Own Scandal

3 Oct

Big Book of Submissionby C. Margery Kempe

I had an idea on Twitter: I need to manufacture a good juicy scandal involving me to increase book sales! What should it be? Some suggestions:


Okay, a very unkind thing but it was the first suggestion someone gave me on Twitter. Not that I would ever do a thing like that, of course! What sort of woman do you take me for (don’t answer that O.O)? But it sure would move a lot of books, right?


I certainly can’t be arsed to run for office and try to make people like me — my idea of a campaign slogan would be something like “I’ll make this job look easy!” — but it might be worth it just to have the position to lose. Taking bribes would probably risk jail time, so I’ll have to go for the traditional sex scandal, I suppose. Pity there aren’t any attractive politicians.


Well, I kind of already have (Cult of Kaity) but this time a real, for-profit religious one. Think of it — so many fabulous possibilities. I could declare myself an emissary from the gods, demand gifts, tributes and sexual favours, live a lavish lifestyle and command my followers do all kinds of weird things that would land us all in the news. There might be a trial if some socialite joins our ranks and we prevent him or her from leaving, I suppose. I’d probably have to write some kind of handbook of revelations. Oh, that sounds rather dull. Hmmm…


Oh, there’s an idea! Think how much potential there is this sort of scandal. I could have a feud with one of my fellow Lady Smut authors, so we could make sure both our book sales rose! Alternating posts that excoriated one another and people would stand by breathless, waiting for the other shoe to drop — preferably spike heel downward on someone’s tender flesh.

But the truth is like most writers I like the quiet life (because that’s what you need to write a lot) and more importantly, I like my Lady Smut cohorts so it wouldn’t make for a very convincing feud. Ah well.

What scandal would make you check out a book? Do you want to vote on a scandal for me? Here at Lady Smut, we know what you like — you like choice! Two year of giving you choice stuff — long may it continue! Follow us on Facebook, too.

%d bloggers like this: