Tag: romance

Fiction: Bluebeard’s Clever Wife

Gary Cooper & Claudette Colbert in Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938)

Gary Cooper & Claudette Colbert in Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1938)

A few week’s ago, I wrote a post called Death and the Maiden in which I mentioned Angela Carter’s story “The Bloody Chamber”. That story is an adaptation of the Bluebeard fairy tale, my favorite fairy tale in the entire world…which probably says a lot about me. 

Given that it’s been a bit serious around here lately, I decided to lighten things up with my own adaptation of the Bluebeard story. I wrote “Bluebeard’s Clever Wife” a couple of years ago and it’s been languishing in a file ever since. It’s not erotic, sexy or even remotely hot, but I do think it’s kind of romantic…in an Addam’s Family kind of way. At the very least, writing it made me smile. Hopefully, reading it will do the same.  

Bluebeard’s Clever Wife

Once upon a time, a girl married a man. He had a shady reputation, but he gave her flowers and she thought that was nice. Plus, he was rich – not that she noticed, of course. So they married, and went to live at his castle, which was large and very isolated because he liked his alone time.

One day, shortly after they married, he told her that he was going on a business trip. He gave her the keys to every lock in the house and said that she could open them all, except for one.

“Don’t, under any circumstances, open that door,” he said, pointing to a large, black door with a big iron lock and a No Trespassing sign. “If you do, I’ll have to kill you. Fair warning.”

Then he left.

The bride was an obedient and dutiful soul, so she waited until he’d left to go to the forbidden room. What she found shocked her. Bits and pieces of his former wives were scattered about like puzzle pieces. Hands, torsos, heads… the place was a wreck. Unable to stand the mess, she went to work reassembling the ladies until they were all lined up, neat as pins.

She was just congratulating herself on a job well done when her husband came back home. Apparently, the whole thing had been a test! When he discovered her in his secret room, he was understandably upset, but she impressed upon him importance of keeping things tidy. Then she showed him her improvements, which included a clever little bucket for miscellanious parts.

Bluebeard was so struck by her logic, and by the convenience of having everything close to hand, that he quickly forgave her with a hearty laugh. From that day forward, he left the door unlocked, while she, inspired by her husband’s hobby, took up the study of anatomy. They lived happily ever after.

Jade & Malin Talk 50 Shades

Jade & Malin, minutes from embarking on the FSoG experience.

Jade & Malin, minutes from embarking on the FSoG experience.

Hello everyone! I’ve got a bit of a departure for you today. Over the week-end my lovely partner in crime and platonic valentine, Jade A. Waters, and I saw The Movie. We got to talking about it over lunch, (of course), and decided that, in the face of so many proper reviews and opinions, we’d skip writing anything truly critical and record an off-the-cuff conversation instead. We meandered, we drifted, we laughed a lot, (we might have even snorted). Most of all, we had a lot of fun making this recording. A few notes before you press play:

1. We went into this with a particular context in mind – that FSoG is a formula romance, and the kink / BDSM elements were going to be geared for a primarily vanilla, mainstream audience. Also, R rating.

2. We tried to consider it through the lens of the audience it’s intended for, (rather than our own erotica writer / kinky person perspective)

3. The most pornographic moment in this film was the opening credits with Christian Grey’s wardrobe. See #1 on context and rating.

4. We get kind of loud at points so apologies if we laugh you out of your earbuds.

5. There are outtakes at the end! Listen on through if you can!

And now, without further ado, Jade and I talk 50 Shades. Thanks for joining us – we hope you enjoy the conversation at least half as much as we did.

xx.M

Erotic Fiction: Resurrection

I wrote this story nearly two years ago and submitted it to Best Men’s Erotica 2014. I was very new to the genre then, and it was only the third piece of erotica that I’d ever had accepted. Though Burning Books Press very sadly closed its doors before the anthology could be published, I’ve got a real soft spot for this piece. I hope you enjoy. xx.M

Resurrection

Laurence Olivier, Vivian Leigh & Leslie Banks in 21 Days Together, dir. by Basil Dean. Image courtesy of The Red List.

Laurence Olivier, Vivian Leigh & Leslie Banks in 21 Days Together, dir. by Basil Dean. Image courtesy of The Red List.

There is a man in a room. He is sitting on a hard-backed wooden chair, one arm held diagonally across his chest. His palm is pressed flat against the opposite shoulder, as if he is trying to keep it in place.

A woman stands behind him. It is her room, her flat, hers and his friend’s…no, not his friend’s. It’s her flat alone. A distant image of shrapnel and a cockpit full of flames tries, briefly, to surface, but it finds no purchase and drifts away. In any event, this room, this flat, is the only place he knew to go.

The woman, his friend’s sweetheart, now his widow, is tall and lean, a bit underfed. She holds a pair of scissors in her hand and is shearing off the man’s dark, lank hair, which has grown to unaccustomed lengths since his capture and release. Just past the collar. This is an estimate, of course. He hadn’t worn a collar in months.

Lift, snip, lift, snip. Her nimble fingers are gentle, as if she is removing layers of harm with every cut, revealing the man’s once untarnished future as she reveals the column of his neck. He is surprised by her gentleness. He’s known her only as his dead friend’s wife; competent, distant, impossible to know. He himself is impossible to know. He understands how one becomes this way, and doesn’t begrudge it in her.

Snip, snip, snip.

She lays the shears on the table in front of him. Its only other contents are a paper-thin towel and the cracked, oval mirror that he’d made himself confront the moment he sat down. A ragged ghost had stared back at him. Dead eyes. Not a man to know. At least now, with his hair cut short again, he looks more like himself. Himself as a corpse. He smiles, a cold stretch of lips over teeth. He’s seen plenty of corpses look worse.

She runs her narrow hands through his new-cut hair, sending stray, brown tufts floating to the ground. He is shocked by how good her fingers feel on his scalp, how unexpectedly erotic. He presses his hand harder into his damaged shoulder, reminding himself of his nearly useless arm and the treatment that had rendered it so. She is his dead friend’s wife. He doesn’t want to intrude. But his skin begins to hum as she moves across the room.

She returns with a mismatched set of shaving things, retrieved from a tiny cupboard above an even smaller sink. The straight razor is old. The soap cracked and dry. She dips the brush into a bowl full of water, before massaging the soap in disciplined circles, coaxing a respectable foam from the long-forgotten cup.

“These were Ben’s,” she murmurs.

He nods. He cannot picture his friend. He’s lost the knack. It’s always shrapnel and fire. He can’t picture what isn’t directly in front of him. He can’t picture much at all. He tries and the failure disturbs him, so he watches her instead. He can only see half of her reflection in the glass. It stops at her collarbones, a few inches above her breasts. She is lean and spare. Almost boyish. The mirror has been leveled to center his image, so that she can see him while she works. Something in his stirs. He wants to see her face.

The thought surprises him. He finds himself imagining her eyes, divining their expression through the angle of her shoulders, the hollow of her throat. She always had serious eyes. Grave. Even on her wedding day, in the courtroom, when he’d stood next to Ben. So serious. Too serious. Not his type. Not then. But now her gravity draws him. He craves those dark, sad eyes. He nearly turns to look – nearly, but does not. She places two fingers on his jaw and steadies his head, as she touches the brush to his cheek.

The shaving soap smells clean and good, so good after weeks in the filthy, dark hole. He inhales once, and then again, thanking a deity he no longer believes in for razors and soap and women who wield them well. She leans past him as she sets the cup aside, giving him the barest hint of her scent. Flowers… lilies? Her breast brushes against his good shoulder as she draws back. It is small and firm, the nipple taut beneath her blouse. His body responds, automatic and intense, a reaction he hasn’t had since his capture.

During his imprisonment, sex had ceased to exist, replaced by more immediate concerns. In the beginning, he had maintained a heroic defiance. Gradually, defiance had given way to the animal will to survive. Finally, all that had been left was the hope to die well. Sex served no purpose in a truncated life, so his body had shut the whole operation down. And so it had remained – until the moment her blouse brushed his naked shoulder, shocking his system to life.

He wants to see her face.

She pauses, holding the blade lightly in her hand. His face is done, and done well, but his neck remains and for the first time since undertaking the task, he can feel her hesitate. He sees her breath hitch in the mirror, a tiny catch. Then she comes around the chair and kneels between his legs. She is tucked in close, so close that her scent surrounds him, dizzying and female, clean. He cannot look at her, for all that he’d wished to moments before.

Disgusted by this weakness, this shyness, he makes himself meet her gaze. She smiles, and it transforms her. He remembers that smile now. It is lovely. She is lovely – as lovely as war is not. He thinks of college and baseball. He thinks of Ben. He shifts, slightly, in his chair.

“Sorry,” she says. “Necks make me nervous. One doesn’t want to slip.”

She guides his head back and to the side, exposing the angle of his throat. Adjusting her hold on the razor, she proceeds with great care, scraping the bristles and lather away, as his pulse begins to pound. He is sure that she can see it. Anyone could. Her breath flutters over his raw, exposed skin, but he remains as still as he can. His eyes grow distant, to compensate. She murmurs softly as she turns his head, but he cannot hear her through the pounding in his ears.

The razor is cold against his feverish skin. One pass. Two. Three. Done. She retrieves the towel without getting up, twisting her hips and leaning in so her trim, narrow waist is pressed, briefly, against his thigh. She takes the towel and pats his skin, clearing off the lather with a quiet, fractured air.

She lingers on his neck, his jaw, his throat. She flushes a delicate pink, and her breath catches, he could swear. He presses his palm hard into his shoulder, to keep from reaching out. Then she looks away, and he is glad he didn’t move. Perhaps he’d been wrong. He’s been wrong before. She stands and retrieves the mirror.

“Done. What do you think?”

She holds up the mirror so he can look at himself more closely. She’s done a good job. No longer a prisoner of war, but a groomed and respectable man. Familiar. Normal, if one avoids looking at his eyes, or his shoulder, or his near-to-useless arm. He clears his throat and nods, unused to talking and unable to find the words.

Outside the window, behind the curtains, sirens begin to scream. He flinches. Appallingly, he flinches. She puts the mirror back and kneels in front of him again. In his mind, he sees a pilot, outlined in smoke. He sees the letter his friend had written to her, the letter he’d had to send. Her hands, the hands that had opened the letter, drift up his torso now, as if to check his shoulder. It is scarred, deeply scarred, by a wound and its careless repair. The flat of his palm is still pressed against the ugly mess, though a part of him wants her to see it. She has, he knows, suffered damage of her own.

Her fingers drift over his wrist as she places his hand on his leg. He allows the manipulation, torn between the instinct to disconnect and the mounting need to feel her living warmth. She drifts closer, watching his eyes, gauging him, giving him time to withdraw. He knows he should, but he can’t. She smells like spring, like life, green and sweet, but her face is a woman’s face. They are not so young anymore. She is no longer his best friend’s girl. She is a woman of her own. And her waist is pressed against the rim of his chair – an inch from his hips and the erection that announces his return to the land of the living.

Her hands skim down to his scarred, naked ribs. She leans in and inhales his scent, her lips a whisper from his. His mouth goes dry and he angles his head, bringing his face close to hers. He can sees the world in her eyes. He sees the shadow of himself, and he knows he is going to kiss her. But she tilts her head and moves lower, past his mouth, until she finds his pulse.

She pauses there, at the hollow of his throat, and he savors the humid tension that thickens the air between them. Then she licks his thudding pulse, running her hot, nimble tongue over his receptive, newly shaved skin. Decency, pain, and memory are crushed. This room is all there is, this room and this woman and the simple need to fuck her.

He gathers her up with his good arm and roughly pulls her close, dragging her up off the floor. Her mouth crashes into his as they rock, precarious, in the chair. Then they are on the ground, their hands frantic, clutching and pulling, until her blouse rips and her buttons scatter. Tiny pearls on the floor.

They are too desperate to enjoy. He falls onto his back, pulling her with him so he can feel her without thinking about his arm. She understands and straddles him, pressing close before moving her hips against his hard, insistent cock. He arches his hips, changing their angle, while his good hand slides up her skirt and pulls her underthings aside in rough, inelegant jerks. When her sex is bare against his palm, she reaches down between them to unbuckle his belt. Her fingers shake. She is coming undone. She is pulling him apart with her need.

He feels the pulse of her, the wet, gorgeous heat of her as he moves his hand so she can rub herself against his naked cock. And then he is in her, thrusting and stroking as she clamps her legs around his waist, pulling him deep, deeper than he would have thought possible, if he’d been able to think at all. He rolls her onto his back, his arm and its limits forgotten. She is strong and full beneath him, and he is blind, lost in her scent, her throaty cries, her slick female heat.

She arches against him, scratching his back and clutching at his shoulders with her strong, desperate hands. Pain lances through him, but he doesn’t care. He loves it, embraces it, bares his teeth and tears into it as it shears through a wall of numbness and despair. He braces himself with his good arm as she buries her face in his neck, murmuring his name. Not his rank. Not his alias. Not God or the devil or angels or saints. Just his name. Then she comes, violently, shuddering in his arms.

He savors it and savors her, feels himself reborn in her clutching, perfect warmth. A second orgasm catches her, close on the heels of the first. It is more than he can bear. After months of stress and pain, he follows her, carried along by the joy of this woman, the only person left who knew him before.

When it is over, they lie on their backs on the floor, panting, unable to move. He feels shattered and restored. A cage inside him has broken – if not the last, then the first. She watches him, hair tumbled, lips swollen, eyes dark and serious. Grave. With an effort, he moves his ruined arm and touches her pale face, and through the numbness in his fingers, he can feel her dampened skin. She smiles her lovely smile and gets up off the floor.

She takes off her slip as she looks at him, rosy and full, not too skinny after all. Kneeling, he rests his head on the edge of her hip and inhales their mingled scents. Then he stands, and she strips him, revealing him in his entirety, scarred but whole. He kisses her, slowly this time, pressing his hips to her hips, his chest to her breast. Then they cross the room to her tiny bed, while sirens wail in the dark of the world.

Best Women’s Erotica 2015

BWE 15 There are certain brass rings that I wanted to grab when I started writing erotica. Getting a story in the Best Women’s Erotica series was, for the longest time, the biggest of those brass rings. I feel very fortunate to say that I was able to cross this goal off my list when my story, “Star Fucker,” was accepted into Best Women’s Erotica, 2015 – the last of the series that will be edited by Violet Blue.

Far more than the title though, I feel extremely lucky to have my work included in an anthology with stories by so many authors whom I both respect and admire, including Tamsin Flowers, Valerie Alexander, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Lana Fox and J.T. Louder. To see the full table of contents, pop on over to Tamsin’s blog – she has one up, in addition to an excerpt from her contribution, an f/f take on Cyrano de Bergerac called “Roxanne”.

In the meantime, I want to share a short excerpt from “Star Fucker”. It’s a lot lighter than most of the stories I’ve written recently, but damn was it fun to write, and not just because it’s about a writer, a famous actor and a mirrored elevator. It also features a character that has become one of my all time favorites – see if you can guess which it is. Hope you enjoy! xx.M

Excerpt from “Star Fucker”

“Star fucker.”

I barely look up. “Star fucker” is one of Jane’s favorite insults. It’s gotten a lot of play recently—almost as much as “useless douche.” But “star fucker” is special. If “useless douche” were a pair of granny heels, “star fucker” would be stilettos. Jane’s virtuosic scorn twists and hardens the r’s so that it sounds more like Strrrr Fuckrrrr by the time it leaves her mouth.

“Strrrrr Fuckrrrr.”

She says it again. For emphasis. Jane is good at scorn. She always has been. I think she’d shrivel up without it. She’s an agent, after all—balls and scorn have fueled her career. But then, of course, you know that. Jane is your agent. And the girl, the Strrrrr Fuckrrrr, who has been judged not once, but twice with enough scorn to kill a Borgia, is hanging off your arm.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” she says, shoving her drink at me. “Viv, I’ll be right back.”

I nod, and take a sip. I’m not really paying attention. This party isn’t how I’d have chosen to spend my last evening in town, but unless you’re into celebrities, Hollywood isn’t paradise to begin with. I’m mostly immune to celebrities. Mostly. There is one exception. But then, you know that too.

I scan the busy bar, looking for Jane. She might be 5’1, but her presence is huge. It’s only a second before I see her, bearing down on a man whose back is to the room. Her shoulders are set like a boxer’s. Our grandma would be proud. Meanwhile, her target is disentangling himself from a slinky, little blonde. The Strrr Fuckrrrr, I presume.

The blonde pouts in the parody of a come-on—hips cocked, breasts pert, no underwire needed. The man regretfully shakes his head just as Jane the Mighty arrives. Apparently delighted, the man swings her up like a rag doll until she whacks him on the arm. The blonde slinks away as he laughs and puts her down. And that’s when I see his face—your face—clearly for the first time.

Michael Spencer.

Jesus fucking Christ.

I nearly drop Jane’s drink. You are the exception to my celebrity thing. I am not immune to you.

Best Women’s Erotica, 2015 is available HERE in trade paper and ebook formats.

Pillow Talk Secrets: Tell Me Who You Love

PIllow Talk Logo - girl with black hair on pillow making red pouted kissy faceHello all! Welcome to the newest session of Pillow Talk Secrets! I’m Malin, your hostess for this round. Today my lovely colleagues, Jade and Tamsin, and I, are going to talk about influences – namely the books and authors that have most influenced our work. There’s erotica in there, of course, but other genres too, so please read on to find out who has gotten under our skins and into our heads. Fair warning though – when the three of us start talking about books, gushing and wells of enthusiasm are inevitable, so be prepared. And on that note, here we go! xx.M

Pillow Talk Secrets

Malin: Hello ladies! How are you doing today?

Jade: Hi you! Just lovely. How about the two of you?

Tamsin: Hello lovelies, I’m just fine thank you!

M: Excellent! We’ve all been so busy, I’m glad we’re getting to chat today. I’ve been looking forward to this topic since we decided on it a few weeks ago. We’re talking about our writerly, and readerly, influences. Shall we jump right in?

J: I love this topic. Let’s dive in!

T: Ah – I have to say, I’ve not been so sure…you both know but the readers might not, that I actually wrote my first published erotic story before I’d really even read any! So, I can’t claim to be well read and I think I’m playing catch up with you two!

J: To be honest, I hadn’t read all that much erotica before I started, either. In fact, I wrote my first piece when I was like 16. I’d only read a handful of stories by then.

M: Same here. While I read erotica, my real influences fall outside of the genre… So, in that case, if we’re all influenced by work outside the genre, let’s start with non-erotic fiction. Without thinking too hard, which books or authors come to mind?

Prayer for Owen MeaneyT: I just have one go-to writer – John Irving. Well, obviously there are others, which I’ll come on to but for me, he’s a genius. The characters he creates literally stay with you for years, and they’re all totally individual and intriguing. And he’s one of the very few writers that can have you crying with laughter on one page and then sobbing your heart out on the next. His talent is extraordinary and he has a lot in common with another of my favorites, Charles Dickens. They both write long, involved, complicated stories which you can really sink your teeth into.

M: Ahhhh! John Irving is wonderful. Which of his titles is your favorite?

T: The first Irving I read, and still one of my favorites was A Son of the Circus. And then of course, Owen Meany – the nativity scene is my favorite all time scene in any book.

J: So, nobody smack me, but I never read John Irving. Or much Dickens, for that matter, so I’m impressed.

T: Oh, missy, get to the library now!!!

M: I’m sorry – my geek is getting activated. I’m going all single-minded! Tamsin, for Dickens, if you could only pick one Dickens ever to have read, which would it be?

T: Dickens? Bleak House. Oh, and Great Expectations!

M: I love Bleak House! I’m going to admit something here – Bleak House is actually one of the books I had in mind when I started conceiving of The Briary, (my WIP). That and a couple of Wilkie Collins novels and Dracula. Always Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

dracula-coverJ: Yes to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Wow, I loved that one. I read it in high school and couldn’t put it down.

T: God yes! And, of course, as a woman who’s written two vampire novels, Stoker is an inspiration. And Collins too!

M: Oh, I love Wilkie Collins! The Woman in White is still a big favorite! Jade what about you? What’s stayed with you?

J: See, I was all caught up in Margaret Atwood and a few too many rounds of Jane Eyre, (I read that about 12 times by age 10). Plus, I tended to read a lot of more contemporary authors – Anne Rice was one, but more Carol Goodman (LOVE that woman), and Anne Bishop on the spec fic side. Oh and V.C. Andrews. But weren’t we all influenced by V.C. Andrews?

T: No, – I read V.C. Andrews but I didn’t really care for her.

M: I read a couple of V.C. Andrews novels – Flowers in the Attic because EVERYONE read Flowers in the Attic, but I wasn’t a huge overall fan either, though I did like the gothic luridness of the books I did read. Going back to Atwood, what was it about her work that stayed with you?

 

I’m going to stop before we get too deep into it. We get into the good stuff with Anne Rice, Shanna Germain, Angela Carter, Sacher-Masoch and more. Click HERE to read the rest of the conversation. 

And if you haven’t signed up for our newsletter you can take a peek at the last one or sign up here!

Romancing the Brit Babes!

Hello, lovelies! I’m over at the Brit Babes blog today talking about erotica, romance and life beyond “happily ever after.” These ladies know erotica, left, right and sideways, (and many other positions, as well), so it was a special treat when the lovely Tabitha Rayne invited me over for the day. Click here to read the whole post, and do check out the rest of their blog. Fair warning though. The Brit Babes know sexy – do try to stay calm. xx.M

bright pink sign in "stay calm" meme.

Image courtesy of http://www.thebritbabes.co.uk/

© 2017 Malin James

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Follow Me
Get every new post delivered to your inbox

Join other followers

Powered By WPFruits.com