by Aleister Crowley
How many million galaxies there are
Who knows? and each has countless stars in it,
And each rolls through eternities afar
Beneath the threshold of the Infinite.
How is it that will all that space to roam
I should have found this mote that spins and leaps
In what unutterable sunlight, foam
Of what unfathomable starry deeps
Who knows!? And how this thousand million souls
And half a thousand million souls of earth
That swarm, all bound for unimagined goals,
All pioneers of death enrolled at birth,
How were they swept away before my sight,
That I might stand upon the single prick
Of infinite space and time as infinite,
Who knows? Yet here I stand, climacteric,
Having found you. Was it by fall of chance?
Then what a stake against what odds I have won!
Was it determined in God’s ordinance?
Then wondrous love and pity for His son!
Or was it part of an eternal law?
Then how ineffably beneficent!
Each thought excites an ecstasy of awe,
A rapture rending the mind’s firmament.
Infinity -yet you and I have met.
Eternity -yet hand in hand we run.
All odds that I should lose you or forget,
But, soul and spirit and body, we are one.
When friends ask, “Why do you write erotic romance?” my first instinct is to say, “Because I can.” That sounds snarky, but I’m dead serious.
Since the first cave man dragged a woman off by her hair, women have been subjugated by sex. Not sex as in making love – love has nothing to do with abuse, rape, pedophilia and other forms of victimization. Even today, in many cultures, a woman is considered the property of her husband. Young girls in some cultures have their genitals mutilated so they can never enjoy sex. In some regions of the world, a whole generation of women and girls have been raped – brutally, repeatedly — in acts of war.
I’ve thought about this a lot. I’m over fifty, which means I grew up in an era that spouted a lot of crap about free love. Some men (not all – I’m not anti-man, by any means) took that as a license to have sex without responsibility and women paid the price. Woman always do.
I’ve been shocked, but not surprised, at the number of friends and acquaintances who were raped, abused as children or beaten by men who swore they loved them. Friends who were made to feel sexually inadequate when their husbands left them for younger women. Women — I’m betting all of us — who have been groped in crowds, or worse, by jerks who think anonymity excuses their behavior, as some seem to believe alcohol is an excuse. Women who battle problems with drugs and depression, anorexia and obesity, because none of us will ever meet that perfect, and perfectly unreachable, norm.
For women of my age, it can be especially difficult because we were taught not to discuss our bodies – we even came up with cutesy names for our periods. We laughed at the smooth, sexless, hairless space between our Ken doll’s legs, but no one mentioned Barbie’s lack of a vagina because none of us admitted to having one. Because it wasn’t done to talk about these things, my generation was especially vulnerable to abuse and because we were taught sex was dirty, it’s especially painful for many women to confess they were abused. Look for your friends who are hurt, depressed and angry. Scratch the surface, and many times you’ll find a victim.
When I was growing up, the best sellers that titillated my friends included anything by Harold Robbins, plus Mary McCarthy’s THE GROUP, Grace Metalious’ PEYTON PLACE, Jacqueline Susann’s VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, Irving Wallace’s THE FAN CLUB and even Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER. The themes in those books were familiar and filled with rape and drugs and all kinds of abuse. Maybe men found them sexy, but they illustrated something to me – that sex was filthy and women got hurt by it. Porn, the stuff that is still sold behind counters and mailed in plain brown wrappers – when not blatantly viewed on the internet – doesn’t need a plot or a heart. It just needs naked bodies.
Women’s erotic romance is written by women, for women. There’s always a love story, and there’s always a happy ending. You won’t find purple prose but you will find depictions of sex that may be pretty graphic – or not graphic at all. It depends on the scene, and what’s natural for the story. These stories are written by women who know their own bodies and, for the first time in history, have the freedom to create fantasies that are both erotic and sensual, romantic and empowering. Sure, we like strong studly heroes, but don’t EVER call these books bodice rippers. Rip a bodice off a modern heroine, and she’s likely to rip the hero’s balls off. Nothing happens without consent, but it’s more than that.
Today’s hot romances are all about women discovering their strengths and finding men who can accept them as the strong, independent, sexual women they are. These are the suffragettes of the 21st century, refusing to be victims. As today’s young women know – and their mothers are learning – modern heroines don’t need a hero at their side to make them worthy or to save them. Like the authors who create them, these women can save their own damn selves.
And that is why I write erotic romance: because I couldn’t before. And now I can.
Since I first wrote this novella a year ago, it’s gone through many revisions. Thanks to countless workshops and critique partners with the patience of saints, it’s a much better story now. I hope this excerpt will . . . ruffle your feathers.
* * * (Adult Content)
Samuel’s sigh made the curtains flutter. “Don’t push me, Delaney. I’m right on the fucking edge. Do. Not. Push. Me.”
Delaney couldn’t help it; not really. She was pissed off, for one thing, and tired of men assuming she was theirs to control. She was also female and human – and, as any human parent could attest – her species had an instinct for mischief that sometimes overruled caution and common sense.
The forefinger of her right hand sprang out of its own volition, and Delaney’s feet glided the few steps that brought them nose to nose. Well, more like nose to chest, but still . . .
Her finger inched forward until a sliver of air was all that separated it from Samuel’s rippled abs. She tilted her head back and looked him right in the eye, unable to control the imp that curved her lips into a seductive smile.
The naughty finger jabbed forward, just the one time, and poked him in the chest.
Her lips were still pursed around the word when Samuel tossed her over his shoulder effortlessly, bellowing a primitive roar legions of warriors must have heard in the seconds before they fell. Delaney was too stunned to protest, and wasn’t sure she wanted to.
“Enough!” Like a battle cry, the word split the air. From her upside-down view, Delaney saw Samson and Delilah freeze over their food dishes for a split second before vanishing under the old-fashioned sofa. Smart cats.
The room spun dizzily as Samuel charged toward her bedroom and, before Delaney’s stomach could settle, she was unceremoniously dumped on her bed.
“Remove your clothes!”
“Not bloody likely!” If he thought yelling was going to make her do anything, he had another think coming –
Before Delaney could complete the thought, she was naked again. Samuel hadn’t so much as touched her, and her clothes were gone. Neat trick, but now he’d gone too far.
“Spread for me, Delaney.”
“I don’t think so.” She crossed her legs and locked her bare ankles together, determined to ignore the seductive glint in his eyes.
The air shimmered and Delaney was spread-eagled on her back, wrists and ankles tied to the bedposts by something soft and silky. She tugged. And freaking strong.
“You, you . . .” she spluttered. “Damn you, Samuel!”
He leaned over and placed a reverent kiss on her jeweled navel.
Delaney shivered. No catering to her fears this time. Samuel stood, naked and proud, his wings fully open. He looked more like a god than an angel, and her blood began to thrum through her veins. Oh, she wanted him all right, in every way she could have him.
But she would not let him win.