Best Erotic Romance 2013
January, clearly, is my month of pig. I have couple of new stories published: Cutting Out Hearts in Best Erotic Romance (ed Kristina Wright), and The Bondage Pig in The Big Book of Bondage (ed Alison Tyler). The latter story features a lot of pig and recently received a seriously fab review from Kiki DeLovely. More on that porcine piece next month. (TBBoB is available for Kindle now but gets its paperback release in the UK on Valentine’s Day; I do think there ought to be more pigs among the hearts and flowers.)
Meanwhile, Cutting Out Hearts tells of Susanna, a married woman who goes home with her local butcher after bumping into him one evening. I’ve only just spotted the pig reference when choosing an excerpt! I swear I’m not obsessed. Here’s the excerpt:
From Cutting Out Hearts
Oh, the lies we tell ourselves.
His kitchen was magnificent, the sort that might feature in one of Ness’s magazines: granite worktops, halogen spotlights, acres of space and a double-drainer sink. A triple row of knives and cleavers glinted on one wall, and at the room’s center was a large pine table with curvy legs, its surface scored with marks. Likes to socialize, I thought. Well, that’s probably good.
He selected a bottle from a wine rack, his hands gripping its neck. I hovered, not knowing what to do. When he took two glasses from an overhead cupboard, I joined him, spreading my fingers over the base of my glass as he opened the wine like a waiter, regular corkscrew and a muscular withdrawal.
The cork gave a dull pop, a starting gun for seduction.
I’m doing this, I thought as Will poured. I’m flirting with intent. Oh, sweet whoever’s up there, strike me down with a pitchfork.
“Chin chin,” he said as we clinked glasses.
I drank, not knowing what to say. I was about to admire his kitchen when he said, “You often look sad. You know that?”
My heart dropped. “Do I? I don’t mean to.”
“You mean to hide it?”
“Guess I didn’t know I looked sad.” I shrugged. “Maybe that’s just how my face is.”
He walked away to put on a CD. Sound system in the kitchen, the heart of his home. I stayed leaning by the granite counter because I hadn’t been invited to sit down. When he returned, he said, “You don’t look sad now.”
“You look terrified.”
I laughed. “I am.”
I shook my head. I felt as if a pill were stuck in my throat. I swallowed. “Of me. Of … of what I might want.”
He looked at me for a long time, trying to read my face. Then he drew a deep breath and leaned at an angle, elbow on the work surface, making his body softer, his height lower than mine, unthreatening. “Have you ever been tied up?” he asked.
Hail Mary, mother of Jesus! Have I what? The room whirled, streaks of halogen whizzing past blurred granite, flying knives, swooping saucepans, and a pine table on its hind legs, dancing pirouettes among the shifting white lights. My knee bones did a runner and between my thighs, I melted like butter on a skillet.
“I …” I began.
Did I accidentally drink all his wine? Was this me? Why was I shaking?
“I … no.” I pictured a joint of ham trussed up with string, its pig-pale skin bulging against the bonds. “No, no.”
He smiled kindly. “I would never do anything you didn’t want me to.”
Never? Never forever?
I shook my head, fighting a rising panic.
Will stood, walked into the adjoining room then out through a door leading deeper into the house. Was he going to his bedroom? Was he expecting me to follow? Well, I wouldn’t. I didn’t think my legs would carry me anyway. Besides, wanting a wrong thing was bad enough; acting on the want could have no justification. Oh, but I thought of many excuses while Will was gone: I don’t love my husband and I doubt he loves me; what he doesn’t know can’t hurt him, like the tree he doesn’t see; how can I know if the grass is greener if I don’t even try the other side?
Will returned, grinning, loops of rope in one hand, jacket off, tie loosened. “Just in case,” he said, and he tossed the coils at my feet. They landed with a clatter.
He stood inches in front of me. The world froze and so did my heart. He must do this all the time, I thought. An expert, and me the lamb to his slaughter. I could see the faint prick of his nipples through his white cotton shirt. Then everything started thundering as his face moved toward mine, or perhaps mine to his. His features grew large then his lips on mine were warm, moist and mobile.
For the first few seconds, I was tense and self-conscious. My mouth wouldn’t yield. I’d forgotten how to kiss. Then instinct took over and I was gone, slipping toward delirium, heat flaring in my face. I closed my eyes and behind my lids, a blue sun blazed in a pitch black night, receding and surging. Between my thighs I grew hotter and wetter, plump tissue parting with treacherous ease. I embraced him, needing the support of his bulk and wanting his weight pressed against me. Running my hands over the slab of his back, I plucked his shirt from his waistband, my fingers seeming to move of their own accord. His body was warm and clammy, muscles shifting below thick skin as he raised his arms to thrust his fingers into my hair. Wisps of hair on his shoulder blades brushed my fingertips. He held my head still, clamped, so I couldn’t escape his kiss. Not that I wanted to. His hands were good there. I fancied if he let go of me, I might dissolve into a puddle of lust.
When he pulled away, he had a new look of seriousness to him, eyes and mouth sagging, lips gleaming.
“Oh god, I shouldn’t,” I whispered.
Ignoring me, he dropped to his knees, hands sliding down my legs.
“I shouldn’t,” I said again, even quieter now.
Slowly, his broad hands rose higher, back up my legs to bunch my skirt around my hips. He kissed the skin on my thighs, making my breath flutter faster, then his mouth was on my underwear, lace shielding my pubis like an ornate gate of silk. No trespassers, please. But inside the fabric I was swollen to fatness, fluids seeping to reveal my need and welcome him in. He traced a single finger over my damp patch, making my groin pulse so insistently I thought my heart had lost its moorings and plummeted to a new place. He nudged into my briefs and I felt him, his flesh on mine, touching me where only my husband was supposed to touch. He skimmed my lips, tickling fronds of hair and when he split me open, I groaned deeply and so did he.
I couldn’t remember when I’d last been so wet.