Hot Male Friends

Just A Physical Thing … For Now

Women everywhere know a man like Tal Crusoe. He’s a part of most women’s pasts, but he’s a nice part. A part of the past you like to visit frequently and in secret.

He’s temptation incarnate, and he seems to know it. That body of his. That voice. The whole package is like an instrument, and he’s a virtuoso. He knows just how to use it to bring you to grateful tears.

He’s very available. You can look and touch as much as you want. And so can the woman next to you.

So here’s what you have to understand.

Nothing the two of you do means that you’re a couple. You will see each other frequently, but you will not go on a date. If you’re hungry, eat first. If you don’t drink his beer, bring your own.

He is not taking pains to remember your birthday. He’ll give you something for Valentine’s Day – in fact, he might give you a few of those things – but you won’t get flowers or candy or jewelry. You are not on his Christmas card list.

You can put whatever pretty name you want on it; most women settle on “just a physical thing.” Just understand that he is very, very serious about that, even if he comes up with a cute nickname for you.

And you’ll tell him you understand that because the alternative is to refuse what he’s offering you. You have any number of reasons for not refusing. You shouldn’t have to refuse. You’re a modern woman. You’re liberated. You don’t have to live by “good girls don’t” anymore.

Besides, when will you get another chance to say yes?

This is where the trouble starts. Because each time he makes it worth your while, you get attached. It has nothing to do with how modern and liberated you are. It’s oxytocin. First there’s all the cuddling and the first time you fall asleep on him. Then there’s your first marathon session, that long night when you forget how many times he makes you come. And you don’t have to use the word “attached,” but it’s important that you get that you are now attached.

Chances are, though, that even with all the help he’s given you to understand your place, you still don’t quite get it. You’re going to get him a present. You’ll say it’s just something that you saw that made you think of him, and it’s not a big deal. His gratitude is lukewarm because he knows you’re not really telling the truth.

It doesn’t last long after that.

But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if oxytocin wasn’t a factor?

What if you never had to say no and never had to be confused and never had to face that awkward moment after you realize you’ve gone too far?

Wouldn’t that change everything?

My novel, ILLICIT IMPULSE, explores a world where oxytocin is no longer in control. Tal and Grace and John are in for a real rollercoaster ride as they figure out what happens when the rules don’t quite apply anymore. Once the trip is over, can they go back to their everyday lives?

Or will they discover that there’s no outsmarting the bonding hormone?

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An Exotic Dance Christmas, or Giving, Receiving, and Taking It All Off

Ready for a Christmas secret?

Everyone’s heard that it’s better to give than to receive. A lot of us have heard it from someone who wanted something. That’s not the secret.

The secret is that giving and receiving are holding hands. Don’t tell anyone. The whole world doesn’t need to know that when you make yourself available – when you give of your time, your spirit, whatever – you put yourself in line to receive some stuff.

Let me tell you a heartwarming Christmas story to illustrate this point.

‘Twas ten days before Christmas when I went to the local strip club to see the male revue. I was supposed to go with friends, but … well, of my circle of friends, I am the most likely to assign top priority to a trip to see male dancers. So I made my way alone to the club, whistling Christmas carols with a fistful of singles in the pockets of my jeans. Talk about your holiday cheer, right?

I figured the upper room that was home to the male revue would be crowded with other women ready to celebrate the male form. Kind of surprising, then, to find the place empty.

Seriously. Completely empty. This was where the cycle of giving and receiving started.

I figured that whatever happened at this point was going to be interesting. Certainly more interesting than whatever else I might have planned, which was probably reruns or something like that. At the very least, I’d get a good story for my friends. I made myself available to receive whatever opportunity presented itself in that empty upstairs room.

I walked all the way around the room, trying to figure out where the best seat actually was. Here, equidistant from the pole and the bar? Here, within reach of the stage? Decisions, decisions. I was about to try out the spot near the stage when one of my hosts emerged from behind a door near the curtain. He wasn’t much taller than I am, but I could tell he had a nice build underneath the track jacket he wore. He stopped short when he saw me, the way any good host would if he saw a guest unattended in his sitting room.

“Oh,” he said. He hurried over to the corner of the room to turn on some music. “Didn’t know anyone was here.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “I’m just getting here.”

He offered me a drink and then hustled out to get the bartender. Within just a few minutes, I was sitting in my own personal strip club, with my own personal bartender (himself a former dancer). While I’m hanging out, enjoying the view and looking forward to having the room all to myself, another of the dancers comes from the magical doorway near the curtain. I grinned at him and waved. He gave me a delighted smile, as if I were a good friend, and came over to join us at the bar.

As it happened, this was his very first night on the job. I asked if he was nervous.

“Nah,” he said. “Maybe a little. That’s normal, right?”

Baby Dancer was very young. He was lean but muscular, in a T-shirt that glowed under the black light. He seemed to have an awful lot of tattoos for someone who made money with his shirt off, but that was more of a curiosity to me than anything else.

“Totally normal. I’d be more worried if you weren’t nervous.”

I told Baby Dancer that I’m a dance instructor, and we were discussing the benefits of nervousness when still another dancer came through the doorway. This one was tall and very powerful looking, and wherever he goes, people likely presume he either is or could be a stripper. When he came over to the three of us at the bar, he looked me right in the eye, and for the first time, I felt as if I was being evaluated.

I evaluated him right back. Not bad at all. This has turned out to be an excellent evening already, and no one was even dancing yet. Baby Dancer explained that the man sizing me up was his mentor.

“This is his first time,” said the Mentor. The smile hid the very slight protective edge to his voice. I grinned back at him. I really was just happy to be here, literally surrounded by strippers, receptive to whatever happened next, but I thought it was cute that this hot, imposing person apparently believed I was going to do something to his protégé.

“That’s what I hear. He says he’s nervous,” I said.

The Mentor glanced over at Baby Dancer. Evidently he was not supposed to disclose that he was not completely in control of the room.

“Some first night, huh?” said Baby Dancer, and I was reminded that I was the only woman in the room, which was maybe not as good for them as it was for me.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe it’s good. Sometimes it’s better to try out new technique for a smaller crowd than take chances with a full room.”

I had the Mentor’s attention again. “That’s a good idea,” he said. “Do you want to be a guinea pig?”

I promise I’m not making this up. This is the sort of thing that can happen when you’re open to offering what you can and receiving whatever awesome surprises come your way.

“Sure,” I said. “Happy to help.”

Remember how I was looking for the best seat a little while ago? The Mentor pulled a chair out toward the center of the room, right in front of the pole. That, neighbors, was the best seat in the house.

“See, this is good,” said the Mentor, as the two of us watched Baby Dancer work that pole. “Usually, we just have the empty chair to practice with. Tough to demonstrate lap dances with no one in the chair.”

“I will sit right here in this chair,” I said, “for as long as you need me to do that.” I really meant that, too. I was just happy to have the opportunity to be of service.

That’s really how I ended up in the best seat in the house, with an experienced dancer, a former dancer and a new dancer, demonstrating lap dance techniques on me for … gosh, how long was it? I think I became a little overstimulated at some point and lost track of time, right around the lesson about whispering in my ear. I got to that magical place (in the chair, get your minds out of the gutter) by expecting nothing, offering something, and being open to everything.

A month ago, when I was in this mindset, I ran across a group of firefighters hanging out on the sidewalk, all as friendly as they were handsome. Around Thanksgiving – again, while I was in this state of mind – the Charlotte airport was crowded with good-looking fellows. If this is woo-woo, it’s my kind of woo-woo. Giving and receiving and receiving and giving – it’s all mixed up in a wonderful, wonderful circle made of male strippers.

Who knows what will follow that?

Actually, I do kind of know. Four days after this, I sold my first book, ILLICIT IMPULSE, to Ellora’s Cave. That’s pretty much the best thing I could ask for right now. So what comes after that?

I’m certainly open to finding out.

For The Gentlemen: What Should You Get Her?

Today’s post is for the men. I don’t know how many men just pop by here. It’s possible that you lady readers might have to point men to this post. I know that’s asking for something, but I think everyone will be happier in the end.

There is apparently some confusion about what to get ladies for the holidays. I’ve never understood why. Gentlemen, if you’re doing what you should, and getting to know what your woman wants, buying her a gift should be easy. Still, in the name of holiday romance, I want to kick in a couple of suggestions.

  1. You must actually purchase the gift. This is a two-part suggestion. It must be a gift – not a gift card. A gift card is an invitation for the recipient to buy her own gift. Similarly, you must be the one to buy it. If you take the recipient to pick out what she wants so that you can buy it, you’re basically giving the recipient the gift card without the actual gift card or the freedom to shop on her own time. Yes, choosing a gift is hard. A good woman respects a man who makes an effort.
  2. Don’t buy yourself something. This applies to things like lingerie. I would never tell you not to buy your woman lingerie or a sex toy or something intimate like that – sometimes the best gifts are the ones that are just between the two of you. I will tell you, though, that if you are buying something like this for her, you must be absolutely sure it suits her tastes perfectly. This is not the place to bring your own fantasies to life. Don’t buy her something she has no interest in, but which you think she’ll “get into” once she gives it a chance. Guys, you are buying something for HER. If she has to give it a chance or get into it, guess what? SHE DOESN’T WANT IT. It’s a gift. It is not an opportunity for her to do something for you.
  3. Don’t buckle under peer pressure. No one knows what to get your woman better than you do – if you’ve been paying attention. Don’t let commercials pull you off course. Let me illustrate with a heartwarming story about the best Christmas present a man’s ever given me. I met this man through newspaper personal ads; my ad referred to Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung (love me, love the opera). Our first Christmas together, that man gave me the graphic novel adaptations of the Ring Cycle. It came to about 18 beautifully drawn comics. I was really touched. As badly as that relationship went, I still take those books down, fifteen years later, and I remember how good things were, when they were good. His present was 50% How We Met Story and 50% What I Dig About You, with just a bit of Just Between Us on top. He could very easily have gone to [Insert Popular Jewelry Store Here] and gotten whatever the commercials said to get. Outsiders might tell you to get Something Chicks Like, but I ask you, sir: Are you trying to impress outsiders, or are you trying to do something good for her?
  4. When in doubt, have a talk. If you are totally at sea, or if you don’t really know each other that well yet, ask your woman for guidance. My heart goes out to people in new relationships, facing the inevitable questions of what to get or whether to get anything. A good conversation – “I want to get you something special” or “why don’t we do something together instead” – will get you farther than guessing every time. If you’re finding that she thinks you should “just know,” it’s better to find out about this now, rather than later. Don’t just ask what she wants – that’s like asking for answers to a test. Try to sort out what sort of person she is, and then you can figure out what that sort of person wants.
  5. Start planning now. Regardless of where you are in this relationship, it’s a good idea for you to make the most of the time between here and when you have to make with the presents. Do you need to do research? Are you working through alternatives? Still trying to figure out what she really wants? You’ll want to do the legwork early. Things have a way of selling out – even Ring Cycle comics – and starting early will keep this from turning into a stress-inducing ordeal.

Watching any loved one open the perfect gift is a magical experience, something you’ll both carry with you forever, even if the relationship doesn’t last that long. A little concentrated effort can really bear fruit! Further advice? Awesome gift stories? Seek out the comments.

Romanticon 2012 Photos: Glass Dildos, Hot Shirtless Men, and Soap

My total Romanticon wine bottle count is three. Erotic romance has been very, very good to me. Also in the frame are a mask and some beads from the Last Night of Your Life party.

Here I am (trust me, that’s me) with Ace. Ace is a great-looking guy, as are all the Cavemen, but again, I had to crop out both our heads because of the uptight folks at my job. My mom wonders why I don’t just pixelate my face, so that everyone is not punished for my poor career choices. I told her that was an artistic choice on the part of the blogger.

Mom, on the other hand, is happy to appear in the frame. Here she is with two hot new friends at the Pajama Bingo Party.

And here she is with the new Alpha Caveman, Nick. Mom has just won a bingo game, and Nick is verifying the numbers.

About three games later, Mom says, “Oh, Lex! You know who you could have gotten a picture of? You should have gotten a picture of Nick when he was over here!” Yeah. Mom was in her own little Caveman-induced fog.

This is Mom with Giorgio. Told you he was cute!

And here I am with Ryan. I have a really blurry photo of Ryan all by himself, which I had hoped to post here so that you can see that amazing face of his. He invited me to join him for a photo of both of us. I was trying to figure out how to avoid cropping both of us out, and he looked at me, gently, like, “See, now I just think you’re being silly.”

I told him that if people saw both of us in the frame they would have all sorts of questions. He said, “Yes. They’re going to say, ‘What are you both doing in your pajamas at this hour?’ This is what we *want.*”

We do want that!

This is Rodney at the annual Pajama Bingo Party, about to give a lucky winner a lap dance.

At our Last Night of Your Life party, I got this photo of Rodney wearing a garment made almost entirely of peacock feathers.

And here’s Christian in the same outfit. See? It’s nice when I don’t have to crop myself out, isn’t it? Particularly because Christian is easily head and shoulders taller than I am. Cropping myself out would have cut him in half and done everyone a disservice, right?

Original Caveman CJ is below from our Last Night of Your Life party. I felt bad for turning up in jeans, but if there is one thing I can be sure of about the last night of my life, it is this — I am going to be comfortable.

This is the crew from Cleveland Exotic Dance, looking awesome at the Sunday SEXporium. Those ladies can move!

I scored these two glass dildo keychains from the souvenir room because I couldn’t decide between them. Now I can’t decide what keys to put them on. It seems a shame to put them on my dull, everyday keys, but if part of my philosophy is that every day can be a little sexy, that’s exactly where they should go, right?

And now, my story about the soap.

The swag tables are a favorite destination for me and Mom every year at Romanticon. We both take a long, slow pass over the tables, and then we carry our loot upstairs and compare notes. After the first pass, she showed me a pair of nice, big green jelly candies in a cellophane envelope. I was bummed — I love jelly candy — but I resolved to score my own before the conference was over. It took a little while, but I finally grabbed some nice lemon-lime jelly candy on Sunday afternoon and went right upstairs before Pajama Bingo to eat them.

I popped a jelly candy into my mouth and started chewing. Hmm. Not as sweet as I’d expected. But then my palate is not so sophisticated. I kept chewing. Maybe it was a more subtle lemon taste. More lemon juice than lemon candy.

Then I thought, “You know what this tastes like?”

I went into the bathroom and spat the jelly candy into my hand. Then I rubbed it between my hands and got fragrant lather.

It took me about 20 minutes to rinse the soap out of my mouth, and I was hiccuping soap bubbles for much longer than that! But I kept my sliver of soap with the teeth marks in it.

Reality hit me like a fist this morning. How can Romanticon be over so soon? I had to pay for breakfast. I was on the elevator at work several times today and saw not a single Caveman. All I have are photos. And a story idea. And plans for next year. And some chewed-up soap, three bottles of wine, loads of chocolate, a bunch of books, and a pair of dildo keychains.

You’re right, it’s not that bad. I’m just upset right now that there are no Cavemen on my elevator. In time, I will learn to live with that.

Photos from Romanticon 2012 — Day 1

Hey, neighbors!

I am at Romanticon 2012 this weekend, which I hope accounts for the lateness of this post. To make up for it, I have enclosed a couple of pictures. I will continue to post photos as long as there are things to photograph.

Here’s my supercool badge with a bottle of wine, which is one of our party favors:

And here’s your correspondent with Georgio. Georgio’s got a very, very handsome face, but I had to crop him out because my face is right next to his. Unfortunately, I work for people who would cause trouble for all of us if they knew this was what I did with my spare time. So I had to crop the picture, and we’re all paying the price.

(See, if I wrote erotica full time for a living, I could leave my face in. Just saying.)