Some readers love it. Some readers hate it. I’m talking about first person point of view. It seems to be one thing that readers can get quite vocal about. I’ve heard people say they will never read it. For me, it’s never mattered. I grew up on Mary Stewart’s gothic romances and Phyllis A. Whitney’s mysteries, so reading a book told in first person never bothered me at all.
Erotic romance adds another layer to the discussion. Too intimate. Too voyeuristic. Those are a couple of the arguments I’ve heard against first person point of view in erotic romance. And again, to me, it doesn’t matter. In fact, intimate? Voyeuristic? I mean, what’s wrong with that?
I’ve written two short novellas told in first person, present tense. Sunrise, found in the Jewels of the Nile II Caveman anthology from Ellora’s Cave, won the Passionate Plum for best erotic novella, so thankfully, there are readers who don’t mind, perhaps even embrace, a sexy and emotional story told in first person.
Caroline has been meeting Alan at the lake, at sunset, for months. The hot sex they’ve been enjoying started out mindless and anonymous, just the way she wanted it. Little by little, however, they’ve gotten to know and care for each other. Caroline fears the changes in their relationship she can’t seem to prevent.
Alan wants Caroline in his life. He sets out to seduce her with his voice, his hands, his body. He’s no longer satisfied with sex in the shadows and he wants more. Can he make Caroline feel the same?
He sits on the bench and pulls me between his legs. The light is at my back. I can see him, but I know I’m in the shadows. The way I like it. It seems much longer than six weeks that he’s been away.
“You cut your hair.” I comb my fingers through his short, dark strands.
He shrugs and pulls the clip from my hair. The heavy weight settles over my shoulders and down my back. The breeze picks up the golden strands and blows them across my face. He gathers my hair in his hands and pulls my head to him. His kiss is hard, bruising, punishing even. I know why and wish I could give him what he wants.
At first his lips are dry, but as we kiss they quickly moisten and we slip and slide against each other. Our whole mouths are soon involved. Tongues. Teeth. Taste. No one else kisses me the way he does. As if he would devour me if he could. As if my taste is the only thing that can sustain him through the days to come.
Or is that the way I kiss him?
I lick his lips with my tongue, drinking him in. I’ve been thirsting for weeks.
“God, how I’ve missed you,” he says. His cultured, British accent slides over me. He clutches my shoulders. “Come home with me tonight.”
I try to pull away, but he doesn’t let me go. He slides one hand through my hair and holds onto the back of my head. His firm grip forces me to look him in the face as I fight against the panic scrambling in my stomach. A slight smile lifts his lips as he lowers his other hand to the back of my bare thigh. A delightful curl of arousal replaces the panic. I shift between his legs, moving closer to him, my hands resting on his legs. The cooling grass tickles my bare feet.
His eyes seem to darken as he slides his hand up beneath my pareo to cup the cheek of my bare ass. The breeze coming off the lake follows his hand along my skin, blowing against the wet flesh between my legs. I vaguely wonder if anyone, like those teenagers over there, can see my bare curves, but I don’t care enough to stop him or move out of the light or do anything but press into his hand.
His fingers play with my ass for a moment, teasing me with their nearness to that sensitive spot between my legs. I rock my hips, trying to get him closer, although he doesn’t need a reminder that I want those fingers deep inside me. He knows. But he’s not happy with me now.
Still pinning me with his gaze, he begins to stroke my ass with his long, calloused fingers and I melt as I always do, relaxing into the erotic caress. When the slap comes, I jump. I gasp and stare at him, but his expression hasn’t changed. We’ve tried nearly every sexual position imaginable, but he’s never spanked me before. The sharp sound seems loud in the quiet surrounding us. He gives me couple more gentle strokes before the next slap. Harder this time.
I shouldn’t like it, but illicit excitement dances along my skin. Does he mean it as a punishment, a harsh reminder that he wants to take our relationship to a new level and I won’t agree? Punishment or not, the quick slaps are incredibly arousing. He spanks me again. And again.
I can’t stop myself from bending over, tucking my face into the crook of his neck, pressing my ass harder into his hand. Moisture runs down my leg and my heart races as he spanks me again and again. His other hand is still buried in my hair, holding my head against his shoulder.
We’re both panting. My ass is on fire. My whole body burns for him. My pussy’s throbbing and I’m so close I can almost feel the first waves of an orgasm.
But as if he can tell I’m that close, the slaps begin to lessen. His hand strokes me again, lightly, gently. My skin prickles with the burn and I almost beg him to continue. But I won’t beg.
The second story, See Me from Samhain, came to me in first person, the same as Sunrise. I really couldn’t write it any other way. In See Me, I actually tried. I re-wrote the entire story in third person but it just wasn’t the same. This is an intimate look into one woman’s mind and how she’s affected by a stranger.
These days, Lydia is feeling increasingly restless, and tired of being invisible. No one at work notices the nose-to-the-grindstone colleague dressed in business drab. Her neighbors don’t even know her name.
No one knows she burns off her frustration by dancing to her favorite music, alone in her apartment. No one knows her closet is a wardrobe divided: monochrome and flats by day, silk and stilettos by night. No one knows her secret ritual has slowly evolved into private stripping…then dancing naked on her tiny balcony, daring someone—anyone—to notice.
Then, at the apartment across the way, the curtains move.
Wes can’t believe what he’s been missing by working the night shift. He is drawn to the amazing woman whose every sensual move makes his body ache. And when she catches him watching, the evening explodes into an erotic fantasy. Afterward, though, she confesses she’s not all she seems. No way is this fiery siren as boring and unlovable as she claims.
And no way is he going to let her go without convincing her she is brave, beautiful…and the face he wants to see every morning.
I can’t remember when I first started stripping to the music, but I remember clearly the night I first pulled open the curtains before I began to take off my clothes. It was only a couple weeks ago, on my birthday, and I had been yearning, somehow, to connect with other people.
I’d still been timid fourteen days ago. That night, I’d drawn open the heavy curtain, but left the thin sheers closed. My heart had pounded against my ribs as I stripped down to my fancy black satin underwear to the rhythm of a salsa beat. I’d nervously stayed in the shadows that night, but I could have just as well been under a spotlight. It hadn’t mattered. There’d been no sliver of light to betray the movement of a curtain. Nobody saw me.
Day by day, I grew bolder.
Tonight, I step up to the curtains and yank them open without a second thought. Darkness has fallen. The lights are still on behind me. If anyone looks out, will they see more than my silhouette behind the sheers? Can they see the red silk that hugs my body? The heels that make me stand tall and thrust my breasts out?
I can’t see out into the darkness and at this moment, I really don’t care.
The throaty cry of the saxophone sends shivers up my spine and I slowly unknot the sash at my waist. I slide the narrow strip of silk through my fingers as the dress gradually parts. Although I know no one sees me, I imagine someone’s dark eyes staring at me out of the shadows. He’s looking at my cleavage laid bare by the parting red silk. The dress slides open and my nipples prickle as the fabric glides across their sensitive tips.
Can he see them, this imaginary man watching me? Can he see my nipples tighten and poke against the fabric as it catches on their tips? In my mind he can see it all. I spread my arms wide and the dress floats to each side, revealing my pushed-up breasts, my exposed stomach, my barely-there panties, my long bare legs.
I’m still moving my hips to the beat of the music. Still feeding off the heavy bass and the soaring brass. When I roll my shoulders, the open dress falls back. It can’t slide too far down my body because the tight sleeves halt the fall of the fabric. The sensual sway of the melody, like the sway of the dress, feeds the need building inside me.
The need to move. The need to be seen.
I can almost feel his eyes on me, this imaginary voyeur. His hungry gaze lingers on my tight nipples peeking up above the bra, then sweeps down my body, zeroing in on the spot between my legs. Can he tell I’m wet? Are my panties darker between my legs? My hand drifts down and I cup my sex, sliding my palm along the damp silk. I press tightly against my pussy and feel the heat on my hand.
The dress is in the way now. I need to be free. I grab the edge of one sleeve and tug, dragging it down my arm until I finally pull it off. My skin is sweaty and the last sleeve sticks, clinging as if it doesn’t want to let go, as if it wants to keep me bound in the red silk forever
But soon I’m free and I begin to strut around the room to the beat of the music, the dress hanging from my hand, sweeping the floor behind me.
Is he watching? Does he see me? I toss away the dress and tear open the sheers. My reflection stares back at me in the wide expanse of glass, my eyes wide, my bra and panties dark against my pale skin. Is anyone out there?
See me! I want to scream. I dare you to see me!
I open the sliding glass door as far as it will go, then step into the opening. A slight breeze brushes against my sweat-slicked skin. The sax is crying through the speakers. I grab onto the door jamb and the edge of the door, arch my back and toss my head as the saxophone hits the high note. My body is crying too. For a touch. For a taste.
I brush my fingers lightly up my arm, across my shoulder, tickling the skin and sending shivers of awareness raining along the surface. I catch the bra strap with my finger and slide it off my shoulder. Then I do the same with the other side. The straps brush against my upper arms like the tips of teasing fingers. I leave the bra in place for a moment while I cup my breasts in my hands and roughly tease my aching nipples with my thumbs and forefingers. Flames of arousal lick my skin and I struggle not to tear the bra off my body. Instead, I focus on the music, match my movements with the sensual rhythm of the blues and continue to move.
The vocals burn into my brain as the music steers my body. Lyrics of longing and loss, of need and sorrow, of searching and wandering. I sway to the music there in the doorway of my tiny balcony, in full view of anyone else craving more than this solitary existence.
Or am I the only one?
I reach behind me slowly and unhook the bra as I imagine that nameless, faceless lover watching my performance. His mouth waters. His palms itch. His cock aches with need. He can’t take his eyes off of me. He thinks I’m doing this show just for him.
Since he’s invisible too, I don’t have to tell him, as the bra slides off my arms and hits the floor, that I’m doing it for myself. It’s the only thing that makes me feel alive. My pussy twitches in expectation. I’ve had enough teasing. Enough yearning.
I step out onto the tiny balcony and lean back against the cool glass. The curtains of all the apartments facing me are still drawn tight. My eyes drift shut and I can feel the fingers stroking my skin. I sway slightly from side to side in time with the music, then sweep my hands up over my stomach and gather my breasts in my palms. They seem to swell beneath the kneading strokes. My nipples are even needier than before and I almost cry out when the fingers pull and pinch them.
My pussy throbs, need pulsing through my body in time with the drum beat that anchors the melody in the background. I drop my head back against the glass, hitting the large plastic clasp that holds my hair up. I reluctantly let go of my breasts, reach up and release my hair. My dark curls swirl around my shoulders. I drop the clip to the floor and open my eyes in time to see it bounce and slide through a space in the narrow, black, wrought iron railing.
As I glance up from where my hair clip disappeared, I notice the light is on now in the apartment directly across the courtyard from mine. I freeze when I think I see the curtain move slightly. But I realize I don’t really care if someone actually is watching. In fact, my heart races and my body becomes even more alive at the thought that someone might be. The curtains don’t move again, if they ever had to begin with.
How about you? Do you like the intimate view first person gives you? Or will you never read anything in first person? Or will you read it all as long as the story appeals to you?