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Lusty Lady

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Watch me talk about my debut as an author, Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays, in this Q&A with my publisher Thought Catalog Books

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Why I picked it: "Jailbait Torch Song" by Valerie Alexander in Hungry for More

Welcome back to Why I Picked It Wednesday, a peek into my editorial decisions when selecting stories for my erotica anthologies, and a chance to highlight some favorites I've published over the years. Here I want to talk about "Jailbait Torch Song" by Valerie Alexander in Hungry for More: Romantic Fantasies for Women, whose title already pushes the envelope.

hungrycover

Jailbait. It's a taunting, teasing word. Are we supposed to be repulsed? Intrigued? Repulsed because we are intrigued? Yet it's the combination of the entire title that truly gives the story its meaning. As a reader, I often find it challenging to go toward the taboo, to not stop myself from enjoying it, to not think, In real life, would I be squicked or condemn these people? Powerful writing humanizes those society would deem sick or wrong, and in this case, even grapples with some of the ostracism the characters face for acting on their desires.

Dictionary.com defines torch song as "a popular song concerned with unhappiness or failure in love," with its origins coming from "the phrase to carry a torch for (someone)." That, far more than the taboo nature of a 29-year-old single mother having a torrid romance with an 18-year-old young man, is what this story is about, to my mind. Publishers Weekly called the story "unexpectedly poignant" and that captures part of what I loved about it, why I knew I wanted it in my book even though I also knew it would likely throw at least a few readers off with the way it employed its tenderness, its desire, its romance through an often socially unacceptable lens. What Alexander does is build both the tension and the taboo, weaving them, playing Tanner's teenage lust against Lyla's mix of propriety and hunger. The story starts off telling us exactly what she's strived to do for the last decade: "Lyla tried to be a good single mother." That principle guides her, yes, but she is also a woman, and has natural human desires, and the story forces the reader, and the characters, to question whether what we've been told about age differences is in fact correct. It doesn't give us an answer, but lets us decide, and pulls on our heartstrings in the process. Here's an excerpt of one of their earliest moments:
From "Jailbait Torch Song" by Valerie Alexander

He leaned into the car. “I just wanted to tell you that we have a home game tomorrow night. You should come.”

“Yeah, I can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t have a reason to be there,” she said. “Because it would look weird.”

He walked away. Puzzled, she waited for him to return and say good-bye. Then the passenger door swung open and he climbed in the car.

Oh no. Quickly she elevated her window. “I have to pick up my son,” she said.

Then his hand was in her hair, hauling her across the seat and onto his long body as if she were weightless. He was shaking. His arms went around her, pulling her against his chest so hard she could feel his heart thumping. He kissed her with almost feverish desperation, his cold hands sliding up under her sweater and under her bra. “Don’t stop me,” he muttered into her mouth and then she was grinding all over the promise of his hard cock, humping him with abandon.
I don't want to give away the whole story, because it's a beautiful, tender, sexy, romantic one. It's one of the most memorable stories I've published, in my opinion, and one I could reread any time and find new nuances. I hope you'll check it out, and I hope I get to publish many more like this.

Buy Hungry for More from:

Amazon

Bn.com

Kindle ebook

Nook ebook 

Powells

Books-a-Million

iBooks

IndieBound (find your local independent bookstore)

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Germany

Cleis Press

Audible audiobook (click through to listen to a free sample)

Here's the other stories in the book:

Introduction: Getting Explicit

Submissive Jacqueline Applebee
Happy Endings Giselle Renarde
Craig’s List Greta Christina
Bringing the Heat Tiffany Reisz
Madam Secretary Jaye Markham
Kitchen Slut Olivia Archer
Just Once Jocelyn Dex
Boat Rocking D. L. King
The Sleeper’s Beauty Jade A. Waters
Upstairs at the Ava DelovelyOlive
Organically Grown Brandy Fox
The Room of Guarantees Jessica Lennox
Redrawing the Lines Bren Emile
Tickle Day Jeremy Edwards
Relief Katya Harris
Jailbait Torch Song Valerie Alexander
Red Lipstick Erzabet Bishop
Something Sleazy Elizabeth Coldwell
The Instructor Rose de Fer
My Pillar-Box Red Cock Tilly Hunter
A First Time for Everything Rachel Kramer Bussel

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