Wednesday, June 28, 2017

We Are Not Unsafe

I hate this kind of rhetoric:

"Kink is not a sexual orientation. It is simply how someone enjoys having sex, not about who they participate in it with. Comparing kink to being gay minimizes being gay down to only having sex when it is so much more than that. People have not been fighting over the past few decades to only have sex with whatever gender they want. There is no need to fight about that because that could be done in secret. It is about love. It is about being able to express that love in public without criticism: holding hands, going on dates, marriage, just the simplest forms of loving one another. It is not about how a couple has sex." 


While I am not equating the LGBT experience with the kink experience--they are not the same, not historically or socially or psychically--there are similarities and crossover.

Kinksters, throughout history, have been stigmatized and diagnosed as psychiatrically sick because of who we are. I don't know any kinkster who didn't grow up being raised to think there was something deeply wrong with them. We've been shunned from all kinds of spaces, from religious spaces to medical spaces, from queer spaces to feminism, to being denied housing and employment. Thanks to doxxing, our lives get turned upside-down, from having our jobs, our homes, our kids, our friends and families taken away from us because someone found out what we do and who we are. And not "due to inappropriate behavior" but because someone found out something personal about us and decided it was okay to shame and punish us for things we should never be shamed or punished for. And thanks to that shame we're less likely to seek outside help when we do experience problems, like abuse or injury, from cops, shrinks, doctors, or even loved ones, because society is convinced--and often convinces us--that, because of who we are and what we do, we deserve all ills that we get.

And our love is CONSTANTLY being reduced to nothing more than how we have sex. Never mind the complex and valid social structures and emotional connections that are unique to kinksters. Never mind the added amount of care and communication we share that is required of our kind of love. To too many people, we are nothing but a series of inappropriate acts and toys.

We're constantly being misrepresented in society. Being portrayed as nothing more than monsters and victims or punchlines. Even the times when we're portrayed in the positive, more often than not, it's in a titillating and inaccurate way that glorifies the aspects of us that the world sees as strange and glosses over the humanity the world views as less entertaining and certainly less profitable. We're treated as circus acts or zoo exhibits or mythological beings, which sounds exotic and fun until you realize that we'd rather seen as people, with real lives and real partners.

And then there's the claim that we make spaces unsafe.

Uncomfortable? Sure.

Complicated? Absolutely.

I will be the first to admit that our open and unashamed presence in polite society--our desire to not be shoved into bedrooms and closets--is cause for a lot of awkward conversation.

But, like I said, we kinksters LOVE us some in-depth communication and comprehensive education.

And thank goodness we do.

We've been instrumental in changing and re-shaping the language of consent in our culture. We've open doors to talking about sexuality--for women, men, and people of all genders--in a way no other community has. We've been advocates for the fight for better sexual education and healthcare and welfare for people who don't fit the norm, from the LGBTQ+ community to sex workers.

We've made sex and love and relationships better for countless people. We've made sex and love and relationships safer and less taboo for countless people.

What we do and who we are may make you uncomfortable, but the last thing we've done is make you less safe.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

PRIDE & Punishment - An Unbound Donovan's Door Story

Please check out my story "PRIDE & Punishment," available for FREE in Unbound Magazine. Join Pip Jones & Cora Jameson, an interracial couple, at an equality PRIDE march as they try to navigate the politics of their relationship in what feels like a much more divisive and complicated world. And, as everyone who’s been to enough protests knows, sometimes sparking political passions can ignite other passions as well. So get ready for some fit-on-the-streets-but-fun-in-the-sheets, pervertable play this PRIDE!

Now Available Here for FREE

Unbound was started by a group of New York City gals who wanted to make sex better for women. Intimidated and overwhelmed by the in-store shopping experience, they thought a discreet subscription box would be the perfect solution for getting women and couples the erotic goods they craved. And they adamantly believe that the world could use more Unbound women. All of their products are tested in-house and are high-quality and 100% body-safe. Unbound will donate 6.9% of all profits to nonprofit organizations that support female sexual health and wellness.

Be sure to check out their Unbound Collection—a line of high-end jewelry that double as bedroom accessories—aims to close the pleasure gap by allowing women to, quite literally, wear their sexuality on their sleeves for your own pervertable fun!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

MY NAME IS IN A ROLLING STONE ARTICLE!

Truth time: I am drunk right now because my company had a bonding event today and booze was most definitely involved.

I get back to the office and I see this:


I am not sober enough to handle this.

Rolling Stone is tweeting about an anthology that I have two stories in?! This is crazy!


And.

They.

Mention.

My.

Name.


That's my name! Right next to names like Debra Hyde and Chuck Tingle. 

What is happening right now?!

I can't.

This is amazing!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Would You Defy God, For Love? - Janine Ashbless Excerpt

Hot Excerpt from Janine Ashbless's 
New Novel In Bonds of the Earth:


 **Press Play to Listen to the Excerpt**

We headed at random for a restaurant under a trellis draped with grape-vines, where Azazel carefully pulled out a plastic chair for me. He’d clearly been studying up on manners.

Well, that was what I thought until he parked himself in a chair facing me and, leaning forward, slid a hand up the inside of my thigh, all the way to my damp sex.

I stiffened, arching my spine. “Azazel!” I gasped as his touch sent thrills cascading through my nerve-endings all over again.

“Hm?” It had suddenly gone so quiet that I could hear even that quietest of speculative murmurs as he pushed probing fingertips into the wet split of my sex and sought entry to my body. Blessedly, thankfully quiet. No voices, no music, and even the omnipresent hum of traffic was silenced; the world had stopped. I glanced around us and saw that the figures in the square were frozen in mid-motion, their eyes glazed. A dead leaf, just fallen from the vine, hovered motionless over his shoulder. Across the flagstones an iridescent soap bubble hung just beyond the tip of its plastic wand, defying the elements of air and gravity and fate. I wondered distractedly if it would burst if I touched it, or whether it would feel hard like crystal.

“We shouldn’t do this!”

Azazel’s fingers plunged into me, slick with our mingled juices, stretching me, making me buck in my seat. Wicked delight boiled in his eyes. “But you enjoy it so much, my sweet.”

“Oh!” Blood rushed to my face. We might be the only actors in our secret play, but the audience were all around us, unblinking. I was being pumped in full public view, my skirt pushed up my thighs, my whimpers suddenly alarming in loudness.

“Do you deny it?”

I grabbed the arms of my chair. “No,” I admitted, stammering.

“You like the idea of being watched. That handsome waiter there. Those nice old gentlemen playing chess. It makes you wet when I touch you in public. You want everyone to see.”

“Please, no.”

“They should see.” He slid to his knees in front of my open thighs so that he could get a closer look at his hand working my wet sex. “You are so beautiful like this.”

“Unh.”

“Open your blouse,” he ordered. “Show me your breasts.”

I shook my head mutely, eyes widening.

He grinned, then pushed his fingers deeper, scissoring them, curling them to caress me within. I heaved, unable to control my own reaction. Heat roared from my sex to my flushed face and seemed to set a fire in my breasts. I could feel dampness springing out on my skin beneath my too-constricting clothes.

“Show. Me.” His thumb slithered over my clit, implacable.

I couldn’t bear the heat in my flesh any longer. I fumbled the buttons of my blouse, pulled down the camisole top and the bra cups beneath. My nipples prickled in the unnaturally still air, my breasts quivering.

Jeez. Now I really was at his mercy. If he released his grip on the frozen moment I would be exposed for everyone to see—tits out, thighs squirming open, hips jerking, his hand buried in the molten heat of my pussy. Everyone would see me being finger-fucked.

Everyone would see me coming, like this.

Right now.

I nearly kicked him in my spasms, nearly bit my mouth trying not to squeal out loud. Not too loud, anyway. I couldn’t actually keep silent.

Azazel watched hungrily, oh so hungrily, like he was gorging himself on the sight of my shame and lust. He ate me through his eyes and his hand, cupping the thud of my racing pulse in his palm, until I stopped twitching and managed to swallow and moisten my lips.

He withdrew gently; so gently that I wanted to beg him to put his hand back. Than he lounged back in his chair, the flimsy plastic bending alarmingly under his torso.

“Five,” he said, his eyes glittering.

Five what? I was still breathless and half-witted with the shock of my climax.

“Four.”

Oh crap! I scrabbled desperately for my buttons, trying to restore my disarranged clothes. And I managed to pull my skirt desperately down to my knees just as he reached “One,” and the days suddenly roared into surround-sound and motion again, like he’d pressed Play at last.


———    


Janine Ashbless is back with the second in her paranormal erotic romance Book of the Watchers trilogy: In Bonds of the Earth.

Unafraid to tackle the more complex issues surrounding good and evil in mainstream religion, Janine has created a thought-provoking and immersive novel which sets a new standard for paranormal erotic romance. The first in the series, Cover Him With Darkness, was released in 2014 by Cleis Press and received outstanding reviews.

Blurb:

“I will free them all.”

When Milja Petak released the fallen angel Azazel from five thousand years of imprisonment, she did it out of love and pity. She found herself in a passionate sexual relationship beyond her imagining and control – the beloved plaything of a dark and furious demon who takes what he wants, when he wants, and submits to no restraint. But what she hasn’t bargained on is being drawn into his plan to free all his incarcerated brothers and wage a war against the Powers of Heaven. 

As Azazel drags Milja across the globe in search of his fellow rebel angels, Milja fights to hold her own in a situation where every decision has dire consequences. Pursued by the loyal Archangels, she is forced to make alliances with those she cannot trust: the mysterious Roshana Veisi, who has designs of her own upon Azazel; and Egan Kansky, special forces agent of the Vatican – the man who once saved then betrayed her, who loves her, and who will do anything he can to imprison Azazel for all eternity. 

Torn every way by love, by conflicting loyalties and by her own passions, Milja finds that she too is changing – and that she must do things she could not previously have dreamt of in order to save those who matter to her.

In Bonds of the Earth is published by Sinful Press and is available now!


In e-book:



In Print:


Check Out More From Her:
Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure. She likes to write about magic and myth and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.

Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000. She's also had numerous short stories published by Black Lace, Nexus, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Harlequin Spice, Storm Moon, Xcite, Mischief Books, and Ellora's Cave among others. She is co-editor of the nerd erotica anthology Geek Love

Born in Wales, Janine now lives in the North of England with her husband and two rescued greyhounds. She has worked as a cleaner, library assistant, computer programmer, local government tree officer, and - for five years of muddy feet and shouting - as a full-time costumed Viking. Janine loves goatee beards, ancient ruins, minotaurs, trees, mummies, having her cake and eating it, and holidaying in countries with really bad public sewerage.


Her work has been described as: 
"Hardcore and literate" (Madeline Moore) and "Vivid and tempestuous and dangerous, and bursting with sacrifice, death and love." (Portia Da Costa)




Monday, March 20, 2017

Porn Is Sex Ed and We Need to Accept It

Like this article points out, the fact is none of my useful sex education came from school. None of it. All of it came from porn, advice columnists & podcasts, bloggers, and experience.

Which is why, as an erotica writer and a blogger who talks about sex a lot, I think it's so important to not only include things like enthusiastic consent and negotiation and communication, but to make it sexy too. To not let it be some kind of downer or obligatory write-off that needs to be rushed through so we can get to the sexy bits.

It, in and of itself, needs to be part of, wrapped up in and inextricably bound, with the sexy bits. I strive to make it so that my stories do not work without those parts. That, if you take them out, the story doesn't make sense anymore.

Because I am a firm believer that our culture needs to start thinking of sex like that. It needs to become our romantic and sexual narratives. It needs to be normalized and embraced.

Because, in real life, sex doesn't work without those things. It just doesn't. And we need to stop pretending, and definitely need to stop promoting and romanticizing the idea, that it does. It should break our fourth wall and take us out of the story, if that basic level of decency and ethics doesn't exist. Its lack should leave us wanting more, wanting better, from our stories.

Because, if we continue to treat consent and communication as unnecessary drags in our stories, can we really be surprised, when so much of our sexual knowledge and culture is shaped by what we in the porn industry do, that they're treated that way in real life too?

Monday, March 6, 2017

Interview with Erotica For All

I did a great, fun interview with Lucy Felthouse at Erotica For All! Hope you Enjoy!

How did you start writing erotica?


    I actually majored in writing speculative fiction for children in college. But I would write smutty erotica as a kind of literary palate cleanser between classwork. Then, after graduation and under the grind of being in the workforce, I realized that my cleanser had become my palate. Erotica, particularly kinky erotica, is a genre that I’ve always loved and that I found I, as a feminist, queer kinkster of color, had something unique to add. While there are a lot of great kink stories out there, much of which is written by actual kinksters, there’s still a lot of porn, erotica, and romance stories in the mainstream that still treat kink like it’s less of a sexual fantasy and IRL lifestyle and more like it’s a literary fantasy. Some mystical, unreal phenomenon that doesn’t require research, realism, or respect. Same goes for LGBTQ+ and interracial relationships. And I figured the world could use more voices out there preaching the message that, while it’s always great and awesome to HAVE a fetish or fantasy, it’s never okay to treat someone as if they ARE a fetish or fantasy...

READ THE REST HERE 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Unicornland Gives a Unique Peek at Poly

I definitely recommend Unicornland on Vimeo and absolutely want MORE! 

Every brilliantly-written, well-acted, carefully-crafted episode had me thinking either "Oh god, I've been there" or "I totally KNOW that person." I love that every episode feels self-contained and is a perfect short story in and of itself. But I was truly impressed by the show's ability to also connect the stories to show a real sense of community as well. It was a beautiful balance. 

I also love that there were examples of kink-gone-wrong and truly cringe-worthy missteps, but there was also heartwarming coming-togethers and honest moments of human connection.

Absolutely gorgeous show. Please, please, please make more. 

Bit of a SPOILER though: Dear lord, that bondage couple need to take a class on SSC kink; I know you're not supposed to say that people do kink wrong, but they did almost everything wrong. And the show portrayed that so rightly. That is how you break bottoms. Please don't do that.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Combining Complexities - Is Monogamy Unnatural?

Seriously, we need to wipe the word "naturally" from our human behavior vocabulary. It serves no actual function and leads to a lot of asinine conjecture. Because too often we conflate "natural" to mean "normal" and "right" and "easy." And when it comes to human behavior, I'm pretty sure none of those words are useful.

Take Scarlet Johansson's latest comments on marriage: "I don't think it's natural to be a monogamous person. I might be skewered for that, but I think it's work. It's a lot of work." Really, Johansson?!

Look, I've gone through long periods of celibacy, I've been in casual relationships, monogamous relationships, and poly relationships; let me tell you: It all takes work. Life, if you're trying to do it ethically, takes a lot of work.

When I was celibate, I constantly had to field questions about why I was celibate and when I was going to "get back out there" because "the clock's a-ticking and you don't want to end up alone." I constantly had to defend my decision to focus on other areas of my life other than my romantic status and insist that there was nothing wrong and that I wasn't broken or damaged or lonely. It felt like I was constantly trying to explain that being celibate isn't the same as being alone and being alone isn't necessarily the same as being lonely.

When I was in casual relationships, I had to deal with people telling me to settle down or make a decision. "Is this the person the lucky one who's going to last or not?" I also had to deal with the judgment of being called a slut or too picky, if turns out they weren't. Not to mention, well, having to just make a lot of day-to-day decisions. Do I go out tonight? Do I stay in? Do I really want to go out and make the effort to find a partner? Not to mention having to size-up every new partner and make judgments on whether or not they were someone I wanted to take a chance on or not, for my own self-protection as well as theirs. Not to mention if I wasn't interested in a long-term relationship, I constantly had to lay down and maintain boundaries, because, as much as no one wants to waste their time on partners who aren't interested in your well-being or who aren't interested in the same things you are, I'd hope no one wants to be one partners feel they've wasted their time on either.

When I was in monogamous relationships, a lot of that day-to-day stuff is easier. Typically, you know who you're going to have dinner with or who's house you're going to sleep over at. You don't worry so much over whether you'll regret going home with that person because of their temperament or safety status. People tend to bug you less about about your perceived promiscuity or likelihood of dying alone. But they do start pestering you about your future together with invasive questions about marriage dates and baby announcements. Not to mention, now every time you try to schedule anything, you have another person to consider. It's never what I want for dinner, it's what WE want. Before I can agree to any event, I need to make sure we don't have plans already. Every life plan you make, from what you do, where you do it, how long you do it, who you do it with, has to take another person into account.

When I was in poly relationships, it just meant multiplying those exact same issues. Instead of taking another person into account, now I was taking a lot of people into account. In order to make that kind of relationship work, you're constantly talking and checking in with everybody to make sure that everyone is feeling properly accounted for and no one feels left out or neglected. You're juggling not just one person's schedule and feelings and input, but multiple. Not to mention that most of the time you're pretty in the closet about it, since society is still pretty uptight about that. So some people in your life know about it, some people don't, and it's a constant balancing act of trying to explain your life to a bunch of people who have differing levels of information clearance. And you constantly have to worry about who knows what because, if the wrong person finds out, it could mean the loss of someone's job or kids or social circle. Added into that, even with the people who do know, you're often fielding awkward questions about who does what with whom and whether you have a problem with it.

Don't get me wrong; each relationship I've ever been in has corresponded to a moment in my life and a stage of my growth that fit at the time. It was a combination of the people I was involved with and the circumstances I was dealing with in my life at the time. Each relationship was filled with incredible benefits as well as inevitable drawbacks. 

Because that's how life works.

Nothing worth having comes to you without work. Nothing worth having is kept without work. And, maybe it's because I'm kinda a socially awkward introvert with what pop psychology labels attachment issues and a tendency to overthink, I'm fairly sure that nothing involving another person is ever easy and requires no work. We are complex creatures; how could combining complexities ever be easy?

We all just do the best we can with what we have.

Find relationships that work for you. That feel "natural" or "normal" or "right" for you, whatever that means in the moment. And understand that, while I hope that you are able to find and enjoy that, your natural, your normal, your right has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else's. If you are not in a relationship with someone, what they decide to do, however they decide to do it, and with whomever they decided to do it with, none of it is your business. 

Don't judge others.

Don't prescribe to others.

Don't project yourself onto others.

So long as no one is being harmed, just you do you and let everyone do the same.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Living With My Boyfriend, Loving My Girlfriend - Part Two

Chimera – 
Part Two
Read Part One Here

I marvel at how she can make the phrase sound both so proper and so positively filthy at the same time.

Lydia, pulling on her boots, laughs before grabbing her bag and turning to go. “Night, ladies, don’t forget to lock up after.”

Hallie—Hallelujah Hannings—grins, catlike and knowing, as we watch Lydia leave. The door shuts and it’s just the two of us. Heart racing, I can’t catch my breath.

For a long moment, we just stare. She’s so beautiful. Like a 1950s pinup girl. She’s Marilyn and Bettie. She’s Hepburn and Deneuve. She’s Samantha Stevens and I Dream of Jeannie. A blond bombshell, destroying my life.

“Miss me?” She leans in to press her soft, pink-painted lips against mine.

God, yes.

I kiss her with lips, tongue, teeth, and heart. I kiss her with my entire soul.

She reaches up and touches my hair. 

Not my hair. My wig.

I stop.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

I look past her. Past her creamy skin. Past her incredibly lush curves. Past her beautiful, soulful blue eyes. 

I stare—glare—at my own reflection.

Or at least at the woman staring back at me from the mirror. 

“What’s wrong?” Hallie strokes my face with satiny hands and I swear I can feel the layers of makeup between us. She kisses my lips again, just a smacking touch. “You seem...different.”

“Different how?” I ask, a little afraid of the answer.

She shakes her head, her blond hair wisping around her sweetheart face. “I don’t know. Distant, somehow. Are you tired? From doing the show?”

Tired? Yeah, I feel tired. So tired sometimes. “I’m fine, baby,” I coo as I touch her shoulder, sending her a smoldering look. I let my hand tangle in her golden hair and cup the back of her head. Trying to turn Hallie’s mind, I pull her close and kiss her.

But, as my lips touch hers, it’s my mind that turns. Spins, actually, as I lose myself in her kiss. I deepen the kiss with a helpless, needy whimper.

She moans, such a sweet sound. Her hands slide over my back and down to coast over my ass. My breath hisses out when she grasps the tender flesh and smiles wickedly. She slips her fingers lower, under the small triangle of my G-string and I choke on a surprised gasp. Sighing—a half-laugh, half-moan—I feel my body begin to melt while her clever hand tickles the silken, slick skin between my legs.

“You’re so wet,” she leans in to whisper in my ear before she bites and tugs at the soft skin of my lobe, making me squirm. She slides her fingers up and down between my slick lips, pausing to play with my clit. She laughs at my eager groan, my spine bowing before I shudder with pleasure. “So wet,” she purrs with feline satisfaction. She licks the sensitive curve of my ear before sliding two fingers deep inside me.

I moan as I reach out to grip her shoulders. “Hallie.” My voice is a breathy sigh. “Hallie.”

I can feel her fingers—magic things—as they slide in and out of me with a smooth strength that rocks me. My head falls back, rolling along my shoulders as a strange stuttering sound slips from my lips. God, it feels so good. She feels so good.

My hand slips up her neck. I want—I need—to kiss her. To devour her. I pull her close and take her mouth. She tastes sweet, my favorite treat. 

I squeal excitedly when she pushes me back up against the wall, all the while pulling and tugging at my clothes. Desperate for her silken, luxurious skin, I attack her clothes too.

“Rebel.” My name is a sigh as my own hand sidles up her skirt to touch...nothing. Just sweet, hot, wet flesh.

I’m taken aback enough to stop the heated kiss. “No panties?” I ask, knowing—intimately—her extensive lingerie collection.

As owner of Bits ‘n’ Pieces, my favorite new and vintage lingerie boutique, Hallie is never in want of something sexy to wear beneath her perfectly groomed and immaculately dressed appearance. Silk and satin held up by barely there straps. See-through lace that cup but never quite cover. Pretty, innocent cotton, floral and sweet. 

It’s one of my favorite things about her; how it always feels like Christmas morning with her, feels like unwrapping something lovely and magical every time.

She smiles at me with a wink. “Guess you’ll just have to find out for yourself, won’t you?” 

I grin, feeling more than up for the challenge. With my back still up against the wall, her fingers still buried deep beneath my panties, I reach between us to undo the buttons on her shirt. Each slip of the material reveals more of her perfect, mascarpone skin. Shoulders. Breastbone. Cleavage.

My eyes widen as I stare at the racy, red and white, seashell-shaped demi-cup lace bra lifting her luscious breasts. The tips of her pale coral aureoles peek just above the scalloped edge. My hands shake a bit as I, nervous as a preteen, reach behind her to unclasp the back.

But, her fingers slipping out from inside me, she steps back. I frown when she wags her still slick finger at me. “Not so fast, Miss Rouser.” Her laughter teases as it tinkles.

I stare at the perfect picture of glamorous innocence she presents in her pretty bra and her full, knee-length, white skirt, her blond waves falling around her face as she stands like a centerfold before me. 

Reaching for the side zipper, Hallie let the teeth slide, releasing the fabric so it pools down around her perfect, patent leather pumps. Wearing white silk stockings, a white and red lace garter, and nothing else, Hallie is stunning. A vision too beautiful for words.

For a moment, I’m afraid to move, afraid that this is a dream and that any sudden movement—that even the slightest breath—might make the dream disappear.

Hallie moves to sit up on the makeup counter with her knees spread wide, her heels resting on the chairs, and grins. I stare at her pussy, shaved and wet, her juices glistening on her lips. 

I lick my lips.

She giggles. “That’s the general idea, gorgeous.” With a knowing smirk, she reaches between her thighs and spreads herself open to my gaze.

She’s so pink and so soaked, I scramble to kneel before her. On a hungry groan, I lean in to taste her. She feels slick and smooth against my tongue. I inhale, her scent and taste making my head swim. I can’t get enough as I suck on her clit.

I grasp her thighs in my hands, her muscles bunching and clenching as they threaten to squeeze me vice-like while her need builds. She reaches for my hair, her fingers toying with the long brown strands.

Startled, I inhale sharply. I stumble back, my hand unconsciously touching the wig. I peek at the mirror, panic gripping me.

“Are you okay?” she asks.

I stare at the wig, still pinned perfect on my head. My makeup still pristine. “I’m fine,” I assure, my voice sounding flat even to me. 

I shake my head and turn to her. Determined—to enjoy myself, to enjoy her—I push Hallie back, pressing her against the cool mirror. I rise up from the floor, her cream still sticky on my mouth, to kiss her again, sealing her hungry mouth with my own.

Straddling her leg, I ride her thigh and thrust my fingers inside her wet, clenching cunt. Her back arches, pressing her leg harder against me. We moan, a lusty chord filling the air. Furiously, we fuck—my fingers digging deep as I buck and rub against her writhing thigh.

“Fuck me.” She digs her nails into my shoulder. “Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck. Me.”

“Oh God,” I moan as we press close to each other, staring into each other’s heat-filled eyes, “I lo—” I stop, surprised by the words threatening to bubble up from my throat. I swallow before kissing her again. “I love fucking you,” I settle on. It’s not what I really want to say, but it feels safer. “I fucking love fucking you.”

Her head falls back against the glass with a crack as her entire body stiffens. She comes, the sight and feel of her tight body against mine enough to push me over the edge as well.

Together, we thrust against each other, helpless while pleasure rides us. Still shuddering, we hold each other, our arms entwined in an almost crushing embrace.

Hallelujah.

“I love,” I say softly, my voice muffled against the downy cream of her skin, “what you do to me.”

For a moment, we’re silent, just breathing slowly as we hug. “I’m falling for you too,” she whispers and strokes my back before pushing away a bit to look me in the eye. “And I’d really love to see more of you.”

———

“I need answers, people!” Governor Reynolds paces the room. “This story is now almost a week old and we’ve yet to say anything significant!”

Aaron, the governor’s right hand man, says, not even looking up from his hand-held device, “Longrin, where are we on a press statement?”

Keith sits up straight and shuffles his notes. “We’ve got the first pass back and are working on the rework now. We should have it to you by tomorrow morning.”

“Make it this afternoon;” Aaron says, still texting away, “we’ve wasted enough time on this. Carrington, where are we on the priest?”

I cough and straighten too. “We’ve called Anointed Assumption and have respectfully requested that Father Nicholas be asked to step down from his post, but they say that the church officials are still discussing the situation. I’ve been assured that the minute they come to a decision, we’ll be the first to know.” After a beat of silence, I hurriedly continue, “And they wish to convey how very honored they are to be Governor Reynolds’s place of worship and how much they deeply appreciate his donorship and generosity.”

The governor harrumphes. “Tell them that if they want to keep appreciating that donorship and generosity, they’d better damn well get rid of that perverted priest.”

“Let the church officials know,” Arron amends, “that we would appreciate expediency in this resolution and that Governor Reynolds and his family would like them to know that they’ve always appreciated Anointed Assumption’s excellent record of devotional adherence to the morals and goodness their faith has always stood for.”

“Of course.” I take notes, knowing how much Aaron's a stickler for precise syntax.

“And see if you can get a hold of that priest,” Aaron suggests. “See if you can’t talk him into stepping down on his own.”

I pause. I don’t personally know Father Nicholas—we don’t exactly run in the same circles, not even as members of Donovan's. But the idea of trying to shame-drive him out of his position and home makes my heart sink.

I bite my lip and wonder what would happen if anyone found out about me—about the act. About Hallie.

I look at Keith and worry my lip.

He smiles and winks. I smile weakly back.

“Are you okay?” he mouths at me.

I nod as the rest of the staff pushes back from the table to leave. I move to leave myself, knowing I’ve got phone calls to make. I sigh and head to my cubicle.

After leaving Aaron’s message on Anointed Assumption’s machine, I call up Father Nicholas and, after looking out at the open office space and the tens of campaign workers milling about, arrange a meeting in town.

———

“I want to thank you, father,” I say as I sit down at the cafe table, “for agreeing to see me.”

“Oh, please, Ms. Carrington,” the mousy, blond man says as he seats himself again, “call me Nicholas.” He gives a sad, sardonic shrug. “After all, soon I may be just plain, old Nicholas; I may as well get used to it now.” 

I wince. “What will you do if you have to leave the church?” I find myself wondering aloud before I can stop myself.

He shrugs. “I don’t really know.” He sips his coffee thoughtfully. “I’ve had several members of Donovan’s offer me help or jobs, if that should happen. They’ve all been so kind, but being a priest is my calling. It’s what I was born to do. I don’t know what I’ll do if they ask me to leave.”

I bite my lip again.

He shakes his head resignedly. “So why did you want to meet today?”

I clear my throat and think. I choke on the rehearsed words I’d been practicing all the way to the cafe as they die, dry in my throat. I sigh. “I—” I start, “I need to ask you a question, fa—I mean, Nicholas.”

He gives me a strange look. “A question?” Crossing his arms over his chest, he asks, “Are you a reporter? Ms. Carrington, I’ve given quite a few interviews, I’m afraid there’s really not much of a story left.” 

“No,” I say as I shake my head, “I’m not a reporter; I’m—” I pause before leaning in close to him. “I’m a member too.” 

His eyes widen and he nods his head knowingly. “What’s your question?”

I look at him—really, look. Taking in his watery blue eyes, I notice that while they look tired and dry there’s a peace and tranquility there I envy. His shoulders, though slim and a bit on the weak side, are firmly held and sure. Everything about him speaks of a confidence and freedom I can recognize but can’t relate to.

“Your question, Ms. Carrington?”

“Are you happy?” I ask, looking out the cafe window at Bits ‘n’ Pieces, Hallie’s shop across the street. “I mean, now that you’ve told?”

Inhaling deeply, he sits back in his chair. “Am I happy?” he asks. “That’s your question?” 

I nod. 

He sighs. “Well, my life’s in upheaval. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to keep my job, my home. I’ve already lost many of my friends, my congregation, and even my brothers at the church aren’t talking to me right now.”

I sigh and rest my head in my hand. I think about what it would be like if my coworkers knew. If my friends or family found out. If Keith found out. Where would I go? What would I do?

“But,” he says with a deep breath, “it was bound to come out sooner or later. And, this way, it was my decision. I’ve been living the lie for so long, I’ve forgotten what it feels like to not look over my shoulder—to not fear and worry and fret all the time. It’s...”

“Freeing,” I supply as I spot Hallie through her display window. She’s laughing with her employee as they wrestle the display outfit off one of her mannequins. I smile sadly and watch them struggle.

“Yes.” Nicholas nods as he sips his coffee. “That is indeed right; the truth sets you free.” He set down his cup before leveling me with a knowing gaze. “Now, why don’t you tell me the real reason you called me today?”

———

I watch detachedly—almost disembodied—as a familiar hand applies makeup on my face. 

Rebel Rouser. Dressed tonight as Donovan’s darling devushka. A two-faced, tricky spy, as dangerous as she is beautiful. A near mythic creation of foundation and powder. Built with blush and colored shadows. A shade in a wig and flashy costumes.

I stare at the pretty, painted smile that reminds me of a clown. A tear slides down my cheek. I watch it fall as the paint smears in a long track down my face, ruining the mask of makeup. All except that smile. 

My smile—painted and poised—is perfect.

“Rebel,” Elin says quietly as she touches my shoulder, “are you okay?”

I grab a tissue from the counter and mop up my mess with a sniffle. “Of course,” I say. “I just— I—” I turn to her and flash my smile. “I’m fine.”

“You sure?” my stage manager asks, her eyes worried. “You don’t look fine.”

I’m breaking inside. Cracking up. The two halves of my life pulling me apart. I stare in the mirror and touch up the line my tears had left. “I’m fine, Elin.” 

I pause when I feel her hand grip mine. In the mirror, I see it—our hands intertwined, hers so small but strong surrounding mine. I look up at her. 

She smiles at me before squeezing my hand. “Good luck;” she says quietly, “knock ‘em dead.”

As she turns to leave, I whisper, feeling more tears threaten the repairs I’d just made, “Thank you.”

I make my way backstage, feeling nostalgic as I remember my very first Burle-Q dance—just a chorus part, a novice with a bad wig and no bit. I remember the first time I performed as Rebel—the silly name feeling ridiculous, an odd but strangely exciting fit. Like stepping into a fantasy. And each time I stepped in, the more real the fantasy felt.

But she isn’t real. Rebel Rouser is a dream. A lie I let myself believe.

From the wings, I stare out at the stage while the act before mine finishes, feeling nervous and sad.

It hits me, as I hear the audience laugh at the slapstick before thundering into applause, that this will be Rebel’s last performance. This is the last time I’ll wear the wig and the makeup. The last time I’ll put on the costumes and perform the routines. 

I can’t live with the lie anymore. I can’t split my life. I have to choose between the sides. And learn to live with the choice. I could be Cady. With a steady job and a storybook life. And with Keith. 

I can do that.

The lights dim as I walk slowly onto the stage—the other performers swiftly clearing the space. Each step feels like farewell. I stand in the dark for a long time, the wait heavy and seems to last forever.

The music starts, almost drowned out by the applause that starts as the lights rise. My heart flutters hard. The first strains of “Chimera” begin to play, the slow sensuous sound swaying.

Don’t look now; you’ll never see.

The spotlight blinds and I blink back tears.

Outside your eyes, forever free.

I move; my hips and thighs, my shoulders and breasts, move as I shimmy and quiver. I do high kicks and let my black trench coat slip off my shoulder. I turn my back, my stance wide.

You think you see what’s there beneath.

I wink cheekily at my audience before letting it drop, hearing the crowd whoop. I bend low at the waist, the taut string of my filmy, flimsy, black thong pulled tight between my cheeks as they cheer.

But there’re layers still, thick and deep.

I hug my leg a moment, reveling in the stretch’s pull, before standing straight again. I bite the fingertips of my black tea gloves, pulling them off to toss them uncaring at the foot of the stage. I see excited hands reach for the scant, discarded cloth; touching them, taking them, leaving green, crumpled bills in their place.

Upright again, I push my shoulders back as the lights reveal the tight black shelf-bra and matching black shorts, the material barely hiding the peach-colored tips of my hard-tipped breasts.

Mirrors are liars; my eyes have no soul.

I reach for the clasp of the bra, when I see her.

Trust nothing you see; only what you know.

Hallie. 

In the front row, she’s watching me contemplatively, as if she sees something that makes me pause. 

I stop. My hands fall to my sides. For a moment, I just stare into Hallie’s beautiful, blue eyes.

Intellectually, I knew. If I say goodbye to Rebel and the Burle-Q girls—if I choose the steady storybook life—I'll be giving up Hallie as well.

My heart clenches at the thought.

But what choice do I have? Cady is real—tangible and undeniable. Safe and stable. Rebel, as exciting and fulfilling as she is, is a dream. Ephemeral and too hard to keep. She can only exist within the walls of this club and every second spent here puts my life as Cady at risk.

Leaving Rebel behind makes sense. It’s my only choice.

But Hallie.

How do you say goodbye to Hallelujah?

The music plays for a few bars before the crowd realizes that something is wrong. Before the crowd’s cheers stumble into awkward and questioning twitters. I watch Hallie’s smooth, sweet brow crinkle in confusion.

My window’s locked; you’ll never see.

I close my eyes, my heart fluttering almost painfully in my chest. I gasp for breath and my hands fist. Distantly, I feel my long manicured nails dig into my palms painfully.

The cage that blocks, also keeps me.

“I’m sorry,” I mouth at Hallie before I reach behind my head and pull at the pins in my hair. I can't be Rebel. Not even for Hallie. Rebel is evanescent. Fleeting. The harder I try to hold on to her, the more my world will crumble like sand, dragging everyone around me down with it. I give Hallie a sorry sigh. “I love you.”

It keeps me safe, keeps me strong.

I can't be Rebel, but I want one moment, before the dream ends, before life coalesces into Cady, with Hallie. One moment where she sees me. 

Whoever that even is. 

Over the music, I feel as if I can hear each tiny, falling pin as it tings against the stage.

So here I stay, right or wrong.

Shoving my fingers underneath the wig’s cap, I take a deep, steadying breath before pulling the cloud of dark curls off.

The song ends, its last strains dying out. I shake my head—my short, blond bob flying out wildly. I stand straight and stare out at the confused crowd.

But all I see is the glaring gleam of the stage lights as I stare at Hallie’s tears.

I see her blink while her eyes adjust to the new me—the true me. Cold shock fades into suspicion. I wonder if, without the wig, she recognizes me from the campaign coverage. My heart aches at the sheen of betrayal in her blue eyes. She shuts her eyes and turns away.

My heart breaks at the realization of what I've done. To myself. To her. The dream is lost. And I don’t know where that leaves us.

Please don't leave me.

Still staring at Hallie—my Hallelujah—I hold my breath and mouth, “Forgive me.” Please.

Nicholas was right. The truth does set you free.

But, as my own eyes that never leave hers tear under the harsh lights, I know freedom always comes at a cost.

Standing in the spotlight, suddenly I know. I can't be Rebel. But, even if I tried, I can’t be Cady anymore either.

I need to be me. Whoever that is. And, as Hallie's unsure gaze meets mine again, I know I want to figure that out with her. No more secrets. No more masks.

Just me. 

If she’ll have me.

“Please.”




THINK YOU OWN ME?
Find more from Hallie in my novel Show Me, Sir from Sinful Press that celebrates feminist kink!

FORGIVE ME, FATHER, FOR I HAVE SINNED!
Check out more from Nicholas in my story in Sexy Little Pages' anthology that explores the taboo juxtaposition of holy and sensual!

REBEL WITH US!
Discover more from Elin in my stories in Coming Together's defiant, charity anthology that celebrates diversity and equality in the face of our uncertain future! Erotica is an expression of rebellion. 

LEARNING A NEW WORLD
Please check out my novel The Taming School from Sizzler Editions that explores discovering kink!

LOVE EROTICA? LOVE CONSENT?
Please check out my story in The New Smut Project's anthology and see how consent makes everything sexier!


GEEK SEX IS THE KINKIEST SEX!
Please check out my story in Riverdale Avenue Books' anthology that proves no one knows how to play better than nerds!


LET'S GET INTENSE FOR THE MEN!
Please check out my story in The Sexy Librarian's anthology that gives us a bold peek into lust and love from the male perspective!
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HAVE YOURSELF A KINKY, LITTLE XMAS!
Please check out my story in Coming Together's charity anthology that lets your feel-good do some real good!


MAKE-UP SEX MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER!
See what happens after Kat & Peter's happy ending in my story from Deep Desire Press!

YOU'RE INTO WHAT?!
If it exists, someone’s kinky for it! Check out my story in Sexy Little Pages' anthology that takes a walk on the weird side: you won’t regret it.

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