Best lesbian erotica and Sacchi Green go together like tequila and lime, so when Sacchi said she was going to be the new editor of that proud mothership, Best Lesbian Erotica, I was delighted.
My history with BLE goes back to the 2003 edition under Tristan Taormino’s eye. My story in that edition, Wide White Sky, was one of the first (if not the first) erotic lesbian story I wrote. I made it into the 2004 edition as well, with A Tangle of Vines. Then I had a bad run, where I had several near misses when I made the shortlist, but got cut before the book made print. There’s even a couple of blurbs for BLE out there which mention my stories–stories that were cut from the final book!
But in 2014 with Kathleen Warnock at the helm, I made the cut again with Run, Jo, Run. And now here I am again in the rebranded Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year. I’m eagerly awaiting my contributor’s copies so that I can read and enjoy the other stories.
My story The Road to Hell has been sitting half-finished on my hard drive for several years. Early on, I had the opening image of a woman driving hell-for-leather down the freeway on her way to commit adultery, but then the story shuddered to a halt. It was a difficult story to finish. The theme is adultery, and the tone is bittersweet, rather than happy-romantic. Don’t get me wrong, I adore happy-romantic (as my latest novella Never-Tied Nora demonstrates) but shift-in-perception, slightly off-kilter stories, somewhat open-ended are the stories that I most love to read, and occasionally manage to write.
Before I post an excerpt from my story, if you comment here, or on any of the other posts in the BLE blog tour, you will be entered into the draw to win a free copy of Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition. The drawing will be held by February 28th and the winner announced by March 5th. If you don’t win (or even if you do) you can purchase Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year 20th Anniversary Edition from Amazon.com or other good retailers.
Eve drives as if the devil is after her, chasing her along the interstate. Off to Colorado. The sun slants low, bruising the dry landscape with a golden glow. The color reminds her of Murphy, their Labrador, who no doubt is sprawled on the couch, his head in Teri’s lap.
Eve’s heart skitters like a rabbit, making her lightheaded. She sweats a film of nerves even though the air conditioning is on high.
She’s going to lose her virginity. That’s what it feels like, even though she technically lost that nearly twenty years ago, the day Teri cornered her in the storeroom of the bakery where they both worked on Saturdays, kissing her sweetly and stickily, touching her in places that took you straight to hell. On that day, age seventeen, going to hell seemed a long way off.
Hell seems closer now. She’s driving to Denver to commit adultery. She’s going kiss another woman, touch her, lie with her, and find out how she tastes.
“I could come too, honey,” Teri had said, as Eve flung jeans and shirts into a sports bag with pretend haphazardness—clothes she’d carefully picked out the week before.
Eve had given her a quick kiss and put as much sincerity as she could manage in her voice. “I wish you could. But it’ll be dull. Talking food.”
“Imagine if you get the contract!” Teri’s enthusiasm was genuine, and Eve felt a stab of remorse. There is no contract. There is no company in Denver wanting to distribute her line of preserves. There’s only a woman she met on the internet and the allure of the forbidden sucking her in with silver tentacles.
Eve imagines she’s dying, imagines she’s facing her maker. It will be a dusty plain, where the land is as unforgiving as the god who made it. She imagines he can prise open the crannies of her mind so the cold plains wind blows her secrets out to paint the landscape. He’d say to her then, at the moment of her death, “Why did you not do it? Why did you not taste another woman? You wanted it so much.”
Eve knows the god will shake his shaggy head, and pity her for her denial, even as he elevates her to heaven.
But after tomorrow, she’ll go straight to hell.
She negotiates the Denver rush hour, weaving across the lanes of I-25 to take the downtown exit to find her hotel.
“They must think a lot of you,” Teri had said, impressed, when Eve told her where she was staying.
“They probably put everyone up there.” The lie rolled easily. It scared her a little, how good she is at the lies.
She wanders through her room examining the toiletries, the mini bar, the wide-screen TV. Teri would like this, she thinks, but suppresses the thought. Teri is outside these two days of her life. which are moments out of time, an alternate reality. Afterward, she will return to Wyoming and live happily ever after with Teri.
They are happy, that’s the thing Eve finds strangest in all of this. She doesn’t want to change her life; she just wants a yardstick to measure it by.