This erotic novella will be out on 28/02/2020 and is now available for pre-order.
The green light flashes on and her picture appears. My reaction is always the same; a strange sense of excitement deep in my core that makes me restless and desperate for her attention. We’re in different time zones and far apart, with me living in Los Angeles and her life being in Quebec, but we always seem to be online at the same time. I don’t know if her name or her profile picture are real but mine are. I only use my first name, Valerie, and she goes by Syd.
If the profile picture is indeed real and recent, Syd looks to be in her late thirties. She has dark, pixie-cut hair and the most spectacular light blue eyes. I always thought they were colored lenses—the shade so startlingly blue—before she assured me, during one of our rare non-book related talks when it was just us in the book club’s forum, that they were real. Her high cheekbones and defined jawline give off a European vibe, but the scant information I could find on her profile tells me she’s Canadian.
My profile picture is fairly recent. It was taken after my long and painful divorce on a celebratory night out, and I look as happy as I felt that evening—finally free from the man who cheated on me for years. Now single, Ellen, my best friend, decided it was the perfect time for me to start online dating and told me I needed a good picture for that. It’s only a headshot, just like hers. My long dark hair is pulled up into a topknot and I’m wearing a black turtleneck and only a little make up, as my dark eyes and eyebrows don’t require much. Being half Hawaiian, I have my mother’s exotic features, tanned skin and heart-shaped face, and after going through a phase of bleaching my hair in my twenties, the color is natural again.
Our book club consists of twenty members from all over the world, all of us a mixture of ages and with very little in common apart from one thing: we all love to read lesbian erotica. It’s been my guilty pleasure ever since I bought the wrong book online by accident, mistaking my purchase for something with the same title. I did think the cover of The Red Room looked a little different from the type of book I usually buy, but tired and grumpy after waiting up for my husband, who didn’t come home that night, I purchased it without thinking. I remember laughing to myself when it arrived on my screen, noticing the explicit cover and that the author was someone called Sadie London instead of Mark Finsburgh. One look and it was patently obvious it had nothing to do with anger management coaching on the work floor. Scanning through it, I got curious and like a woman starved of attention started reading it. The Red Room soon woke up parts of my body I’d neglected for years and since that day, I’ve been reading one lesbian erotica book after another, and still can’t seem to get enough of them.
No one knows this hidden side of me, apart from the nineteen other members of my book club. The website isn’t very well known, and the chat element is closed, so I feel safe to discuss my newfound passion with likeminded enthusiasts. The main reason I keep coming back religiously each night though, is Syd.
Of course, I’ve thought long and hard about my fascination with her. She’s attractive—again, if her profile picture is real—but there’s also something personal in the way she communicates with me and it makes me feel special. I know that sounds sad, but I haven’t exactly been dating much, too consumed with reading after work and frankly right now, I’d take lesbian erotica over a date with a man any day.
I’m not even sure if I’m still into men as I clearly don’t have much interest in them. When I was still married our sex life wasn’t exactly sizzling, and even before things started going south between us, I never enjoyed having sex as much as my friends claimed they did. Perhaps that’s why I like reading about good sex instead because, contrary to the real deal, it turns me on.
Syd typing my name is enough to make my pulse race. ‘Syd 🙂,’ I reply.
‘It seems like it’s just us again. Did you finish the book?’
‘Yes. In one day. I liked it. Well written and very hot. Did you?’
‘I did. Cherry reminded me of you, in a way.’
I frown, wondering how she came to that conclusion, because honestly Cherry, the protagonist in our latest book club read, reminded me of myself too. ‘Why?’ I ask.
‘Not sure. The bad-ass job, maybe, and you seem to use the same language. Her description fits your profile picture too, so my mind just went there…’
It’s not so much what she types, but the three dots at the end that make me take in a quick breath. We’re not supposed to discuss anything other than the books we read in the group, so I phrase my reply carefully, the way we always do when we want to find out more about each other.
By now, I know she’s a tattoo artist and that she’s into running. In return, I told her I work as a CFO for a large electronics company and that I’m a wine enthusiast but that’s about it.
‘I guess I could relate to her because of her job. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much. I’m not exactly a blonde bombshell, though.’
‘I’ll have to disagree with that. Blonde, maybe not. A bombshell, most certainly.’
The comment makes me blush, and I look around, even though I know there’s no one left in the office. It’s 8 pm and most of my team members leave before seven, but because I had a late meeting and didn’t want to risk missing my precious half hour with her, I got back behind my desk in my corner office afterward, swapping my work phone for my private one. ‘Well, thank you,’ is all I can think of to say. Syd’s been on my mind a lot lately, and although I feel a little foolish for being so pre-occupied with someone who I don’t even know is real, it’s also been nice to have something to fantasize about again. Being an avid reader of lesbian erotica herself, I know there’s a good chance Syd is gay, and it’s a flattering thought that a beautiful woman might be into me.
I wait for a reply, and then it happens. I’ve been imagining this moment many times late at night in bed, when I can’t sleep and can’t stop thinking of her. Against all club rules, she sends me her personal email address and adds: ‘I’d like to continue this conversation in private’, before going offline.
I stare at it for a moment, not quite believing what she’s just done, then quickly copy it into my contacts before the mediator has the chance to remove it. We might get suspended for this, but I don’t care. My heart is beating steadily in my chest as I read her name in the email address. Sydney Heller. I don’t know why it feels like such a big deal to know her surname, but suddenly, nothing seems more important than sending her an email. I scan the office again and contemplate doing it here, but unsure of how long I’ll be waiting for her reply, I close my laptop and pack my bag instead. The traffic in LA will be fine at this time of night and I can be home in half an hour.
‘Hi Syd,’ I type when I’m sitting on the couch after a shower. Reluctant to waste time driving around in search of food, I’ve settled for a glass of red wine and the leftovers of last night’s Thai take-out. I’m not hungry in the slightest, my nerves suppressing my appetite, but I force myself to eat something so I’m not drinking on an empty stomach. How do I continue? In theory, this should be easier than communicating face to face or in a group where everyone can see what we’re writing, but it’s not. I feel feverishly warm and open my robe a little, fanning my face with a magazine from the table.
Despite my reputation as a wild child when I was younger, sending this email seems like a reckless thing to do. Knowing she’ll be flirting with me when our exchange starts, my brain begins searching for something witty or intelligent to say, but nothing springs to mind—it’s all a blank—my mind suddenly void. What’s wrong with me? I lead a team of thirty in my day to day role and have no problem confidently consulting some of the most powerful people in my industry. In meetings or discussions, I’m always one step ahead of everyone else, yet sending a simple email seems terribly complicated right now. I curse when I almost drop my phone, and the two-word email is sent by accident in a clumsy scramble to catch it.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” The last of the three ‘fucks’ comes out as a cry when on top of everything, I spill wine over my silk robe, leaving a red stain on the delicate off-white fabric. Irritated, I quickly grab a dish towel to wipe myself off as a ping indicates a reply.
‘Hey, Valerie. I must say, you’ve been on my mind a lot lately. Is your profile picture real? You look beautiful.’
I feel flushed at her message and a twitch stronger than I’ve felt in years shoots between my thighs. The way my body reacts to her compliment surprises me. Still unable to think of anything amusing, I start typing the first thing that comes to mind.
‘Yes, it’s real. What about yours?’ My fingers tremble as I continue. ‘You’re very attractive yourself.’
Her reply again, is prompt. ‘Yes, it’s me. See pic attached. What are you doing right now?’ Almost choking with anticipation, I open the attachment, not sure whether to expect a dick pic as a result of being catfished by some cruel prankster or an actual picture of Syd. Relief washes over me when I see it’s an image of her. It looks like it’s been taken with a selfie stick, because I can see most of her. She’s sitting on a bed holding a bottle of beer. One of her arms is entirely covered in tattoos, and she’s wearing a white tank top and jeans, smiling into the camera, her piercing light blue eyes focused on the lens. She looks strong and toned, with small breasts and a slight curve at her hips. It’s the first time I’ve ever stared at a woman’s body like this and I can’t help but wonder what she would look like naked.
‘Nice picture. I’m on the couch, just got home.’
‘Perfect. I’m at home now too, and bored. I need you to distract me.’
A shiver runs through me as I reply. Are we really doing this? ‘Happy to help. What can I do for you?’
‘Well for starters, where’s my picture? I need proof too.’
I smile and take a selfie, wishing I’d freshened up before I started this. Cringing as I look at the wine stain splashed over my left breast, I send it anyway, not wanting her to think I’m trying too hard. ‘Here’s your proof.’
‘Cute. I like it J. What happened to your robe?
‘I spilled wine.’ Typing the words, I remember the still half-full glass on the coffee table and take a long drink, then fill it up again. Liquid courage is exactly what I need right now. This time, the reply doesn’t come straight away and I start to worry if my disheveled appearance in the picture has put her off. It wasn’t dissimilar from my profile picture, apart from my hair, which is down now but perhaps I should have rethought the robe? Finally, she gets back to me and my eyes widen as I read her message.
‘It looks wet. Maybe you should take it off.’
Initially, I’m shocked by her directness but deep down, it also arouses me. I should have seen this coming, of course. No one starts a flirty exchange without expecting it to turn sexy. I could always tell her I’ve taken it off, she can’t see me after all. But something makes me want to do it, and so I slide the silky fabric off my shoulders, leaving me in the pastel pink lace bra I’ve been wearing all day. ‘It’s off.’
‘I’m going to need proof of that too, I’m afraid.’
I laugh and shake my head. ‘Why would I send a half-naked picture of myself to a stranger? You could do anything with it.’
‘But I won’t. I promise I won’t, so just send me the picture.’
I bite my lip, contemplating her request while heat spreads between my thighs. It’s so not me, but then neither is being a member of a lesbian erotica book club. Knowing I’ll give in—because my body really, really wants this—I take another sip of wine so I can blame it on the alcohol if my picture ends up online. ‘You’d better keep this to yourself, Syd,’ I type, then take another picture of me in my bra. I’m not smiling in this one, but as I narrow my eyes and study myself, I notice I look aroused. It may not be obvious to her, as she doesn’t know me, but my own impassioned expression astounds me. My lips are parted, my eyes darker than normal and there’s even a hint of fear in them that could easily be mistaken for vulnerability, or shyness. Still, I send it and try not to think of the potential consequences of my irrational behavior.
‘Thank you. That’s very sexy… How about we play a game? It’s called I tell you what to do and you obey.’
I chuckle at her audacity and note that subtlety is not her strong point. ‘That doesn’t sound like a fair game to me.’
‘Maybe not, but it could be fun.’ She ends her message with a wink emoji. While I take my time contemplating her indecent proposal—wondering how I should reply—another email comes in. ‘Are you still there?’
‘Yes, I’m here,’ I type with trembling fingers.
‘Good. Because I want you to slide your hand into your bra. Feel your nipples harden under your touch. Roll them between your fingers and pinch them.’
I gasp as my eyes scan her message. I’m not used to people telling me what to do and she’s unapologetically bold and direct. I quickly type back.
‘Oh, we’ve started now, have we? I don’t remember agreeing to this.’
‘Just do as I say, and you’ll be rewarded. I promise.’
Part of me is afraid, but part of me also likes her demanding tone. If I’m doing anything on a Monday night, it might as well be this, and I surprise myself by following her command. My fingers skim my already hard nipples, the tips of which rose to attention the moment her first email came in. A small gasp escapes me as I pinch them, and my pussy twitches with arousal.
‘It feels good,’ I type with one hand.
‘I know it does. Now take off your bra and show me those nipples. I want to imagine my lips on them.’
My shaking hand covers my mouth and I stare at the screen for a long moment. This is getting out of hand, but by now I’m so turned on that I actually want to continue. I unclasp my bra at the back and let it fall off my shoulders, shivering at the breeze that blows in through the sliding glass doors. Cropping the picture I’ve hastily taken, I make sure only the bottom half of my face is in it so I can always deny that it’s me. Not bothering with a caption, I send it and again, it seems to take forever before she gets back to me.
‘Fuck. You are so hot.’
I smile and can feel myself blushing because it’s been a long time since someone has said that to me. ‘Where’s my topless picture?’ I daringly request.
‘Next time. I have to go. Send me your Messenger info, it’s much easier.’
‘What’s in it for me?’ I ask, suddenly kicking myself for sending semi-racy pictures of myself to a woman I don’t know. What if she sells them? What if she blackmails me? For someone in my position, I can’t risk having my reputation tainted.
‘You’ll find out soon enough. Expect a package at work tomorrow. Your reward.’
Adrenaline floods my system, and I’m feeling even more worried now. ‘How do you know where I work?’
‘Your email address, smart-ass J.’ Straight after, another email follows. ‘Bye. X’
“Damn it,” I say out loud. Why am I not thinking clearly this evening? Or rather, why am I not thinking at all? I rarely send private emails, and I realize I’ve used my work account which is connected to my personal devices too, without thinking. I immediately delete the emails and pictures, then down the rest of my wine. I’m not sure if I’m relieved or disappointed that she’s gone because, despite my concerns, I’m still incredibly turned on. Wishing I’d kept the picture she sent me, I slide my hand into my panties and gasp at how sensitive I am. Slowly, I trace two fingers up and down my flesh, moaning as I roll my hips. The need for release is strong and I move my fingers faster, almost frantically. It’s been too long, and my clit is throbbing as I circle it, my release loud as I cry out when my much-needed orgasm washes over me.
Basking in blissful relaxation, I stare up at the ceiling and realize I need more of this, more of her. I love the way she talks to me, the way she makes no excuses and simply tells me what she wants. Maybe I should just go with it, because it seems that the licentious fantasies I’ve had during my time in the book club are finally coming true…
“Thank you, that will be all.” I close my laptop and gather my paperwork from the enormous oval table in the boardroom. My staff is leaving for lunch after our monthly briefing and I’m headed for the mail room. During our meeting, a message from the mail room supervisor came in, letting me know there was a parcel for me. It was hard to concentrate on my presentation—knowing it might be Syd’s package—and the two hours felt like they would never end.
Walking toward the elevators, I give a polite nod to a couple of co-workers and smile at the janitor I often talk to at night, when we’re the last ones left in the office. Our enormous office building is spacious and decorated in neutral colors, the sleek and modern design making it feel like a clinic at times. I don’t mind that; I like no-nonsense and dress accordingly. My pantsuits that are custom-made for my petite, but curvy body are like a uniform to me. I wear them to work every single day; a fitted black blazer that accentuates my slim waist, black palazzo pants, high heels and a black sleeveless turtleneck. It’s always a little on the chilly side here, in summer as well as in winter, and being uncomfortable is a waste of time.
A text message from my friend Ellen comes in, asking me if I want to go for dinner tonight. For a moment, the idea seems great, but then I remember last night’s exchange, and I change my mind, replying that I’m busy. I still need to send Syd my Messenger details, but I want to see what’s in the parcel first.
“What have you got for me, Pete?” I ask the mail room supervisor. Normally, I’d send my assistant to pick it up, but I’m a little apprehensive about what the packaging will look like and I don’t want her to make assumptions or ask questions. I’m relieved when Pete presents me with a neutral black box, laced with a pink ribbon that is tied into a perfect bow on the top. Thankfully, there’s no card and no logo on the box.
“It was hand-delivered this morning,” Pete says. “By a pretty lady in a pink delivery truck. I don’t remember the name of the company. Naughty something…” He frowns, digging through his memory, and I cringe.
“Right, thank you. It’s probably just some marketing material addressed to the wrong department. I’ll make sure it gets to the right person.” My cheeks burn with heat, and I rush out of the mail room and into the nearest restrooms, where I sit down on a toilet seat and take a deep breath. After staring at the box for a moment, I pull at the ribbon, releasing it, then open the lid. Black satin fabric surrounds a small, pink device, along with a card that says: ‘Don’t use this until I tell you to.’
It’s a vibrator, and from the looks of it, it’s an expensive one. I take it out of the box and study the streamlined silicone toy. Even though I don’t have any experience with vibrators—in fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen one up close—I appreciate the design. It appears clever and uncomplicated, but above all, it looks intriguing. The bent oval shape fits perfectly in my hand and when I press the single ridged circle on the top, it starts buzzing. The feeling of it makes me quiver and the temptation to try it right now is strong, but looking down at the card again, I switch it off and put it back in the box. Tonight, I tell myself. Right now, I need to hide this box and grab a coffee before my next meeting starts.
I’m not taking much in from the planning meeting with the wearables marketing manager who is pitching his estimated budgets to me. There are another handful of people in the room but they’re really just here as a formality as, ultimately, it’s my decision how much he’s allocated for the coming year. I should pay close attention as this is important but just before we started, I emailed Syd my Messenger details and now my phone is buzzing. Moving my phone to my lap under the table, I open the message.
‘Did you get my present?’
I reply. ‘Yes. It’s a little much and a little soon, don’t you think?’
‘Don’t fool yourself, I know what you want. We’ve been discussing erotica books for months and I know you’re into this. You also seemed to be into me last night. So… do you like it?’
‘Yes, I do. Thank you.’ I realize then that she does in fact know what I want. Admitting I like a certain book is basically the same as revealing my fantasies. The second book I read by Sadie London springs to mind. It was about the owner of a sex store who tried out various toys on her clients. Clearly recalling telling the other members of the club it was my favorite book, and that I’m working my way through all of the author’s books now, I think she’s drawing from it, and knowing she remembers that makes me smile. The marketing manager smiles too, hopeful that my silly grin means I’m on board with his proposition. I try to relax my face and pretend to listen while shooting another quick glance at my phone when it vibrates again.
‘Is your pussy shaven?’ I gasp at the question, and suddenly, six pairs of eyes are focused on me. I shouldn’t be doing this here. My company is paying me a small fortune to make big decisions and I’m sexting in the middle of a meeting. Breaking into a coughing fit, I pretend to have a sore throat. It seems to do the trick, as everyone waits for me to finish clearing my throat, before turning back to the presenter, who is only on slide seven of which I know to be a forty-slide pitch. Despite my fleeting lapse in concentration, I don’t panic. I’ve read the presentation through beforehand, so at least I won’t be entirely clueless by the end of this. The pull to continue the exchange with Syd is strong, and now that I’ve had some time to get used to the idea—that I’m indecently messaging a woman—I can’t seem to make myself stop.
My fingers move silently under the table. ‘Trimmed,’ I lie, knowing I haven’t bothered with too much personal grooming since I last stopped sleeping with my ex-husband three years ago. Now I regret that I didn’t because who knows what will happen tonight?
‘Hmm…’ A couple of seconds pass before another message comes in. ‘I want you to shave yourself first. All of it. It will be much more intense if you do. Trust me.’ There’s another pause before she writes: ‘Have to go, talk to you later.’ She closes the message with her usual wink emoji, then leaves the chat.
I’m so turned on by her request that I have to push my chair back and cross my legs in an attempt to sooth the agonizing tingle between my thighs. Scrolling through my phone, I look up the number for the beauty parlor I always book when I have a last-minute business trip. If I’m doing this I might as well do it right and I’ve decided I’m going to get myself waxed.