Today I’m happy to welcome fellow Decadent Publishing author Alissa Baxter to the blog with her Ubuntu line release: The Blog Affair. The premise sounds very interesting – besides, you never know where starting a blog will lead you!
Twenty-something, white, South African Emma Bradshaw has a pattern of falling for unsuitable men and starts a blog about these so-called “serial datists”. Her search for new beginnings takes her to Cape Town, where she gets a job working for sexy author, Nick Reynolds. Romance with her boss is a no-no, but slowly, Nick works his way around her defenses. Trust him, or not, especially with her awful track record with men?
When an anonymous male reader of the blog challenges her on her ideas about the male species, Emma realises she must confront her past and find her true self before she can move forward…and love can blossom again in her future.
“Welcome, ladies. My name is Portia, and I’m your hostess for the evening. As some of you might know, in Greek mythology, Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sexual rapture, and tonight we’ll be getting in touch with our inner Aphrodite.”
Portia appraised the assembled women, and gave a long, slow nod. “Female energy is powerful. It is also mythical and of immense proportions. No man could resist Aphrodite. She was beautiful and desirable, and was loved by a number of gods and mortals, the most famous of her mortal lovers being Adonis.
“Now, before we start the evening’s proceedings, I want you to close your eyes and meditate on your inner Aphrodite.”
Everyone in the room obediently closed their eyes.
“Drink in the silence, ladies. Centre yourselves. Think about your inner goddess,” Portia’s voice purred. “She’s within you, and now it’s time to release her.”
Emma choked back a laugh as she peeked at the women meditating around her. She had mental images of their souls escaping and fluttering around the room—with wings, of course. She was convinced goddesses had wings. Or was she confusing them with angels?
“Can you feel your inner Aphrodite, yet, ladies?” Portia continued. “Is she coming to the surface?”
A low murmur filled the room in response, and Portia smiled. “She’s in you, ladies. You’ve just ignored her for too many years.” The tone of her voice changed abruptly. “Okay, everyone. Open your eyes, now. It’s time for the fun to begin.
“A gorgeous guy has agreed to indulge us this evening. Let me introduce Phil to you. Give him a round of applause, ladies. He’s here to help with your sexual education.”
Emma stared in shock as Phil—her Phil—walked out from the shadows and into the lit area where Portia was standing. He wore black shorts but no shirt, and his tightly muscled, bronzed body gleamed as he stood for a moment in front of the crowd of women who went wild at the sight of him.
He gave them a lazy smile, before sitting down on the stool Portia indicated. With a Cheshire cat smirk, Portia said to him, “Give me your hands, darling.”
When he stretched them out, she bound them together with a black cord. Then Portia took a blindfold and tied it around Phil’s eyes.
“All I need now is a volunteer.” Her gaze swept the room.
Emma shrank back in her chair. I have to leave the club. But her limbs wouldn’t cooperate. Instead, she sat frozen to her chair, like an ice lolly stuck to an unsuspecting tongue.
Suddenly, a hand grabbed her elbow.
“I have the perfect volunteer for you, Portia.” Mayvis dragged Emma to her feet. “My friend, Emma.”
She stood stock still, but Mayvis propelled her forward and marched her toward the front.
“She really wants to be educated by you, and Phil, of course.”
“Excellent!” The older woman smiled at Emma.
“I…I don’t want to do this.” She cringed at the note of panic in her voice.
“It’ll be fun, darling,” Portia said quietly. “Relax.” She scrutinised the crowd again and continued speaking. “As you might have guessed, the word “aphrodisiac” derives from Aphrodite. Aphrodite’s festival was known as the Aphrodisiac, and it was celebrated in the various centres of Greece, mainly in Athens and Corinth.”
Portia paced around Phil and spread her arms wide in an all-encompassing gesture.
“Aphrodite’s priestesses were women who represented the goddess and sexual intercourse with them was considered a method of worship.” She paused for a long moment, and then lowered her voice for dramatic effect. “Tonight, ladies, we will be celebrating the festival of Aphrodite, right here….”
“Perhaps you should get someone else,” Emma said abruptly. “I am not an exhibitionist.”
Portia gave a deep, throaty laugh. “Emma here is the perfect volunteer, ladies. She says she’s not an exhibitionist, but what she doesn’t realise is she is in all probability inhibited. Tonight, we will free her from the bonds that might be preventing her from experiencing sexual rapture.”
Portia dribbled chocolate all over Phil’s stomach. “Chocolate, of course, is a well-known aphrodisiac. Emma, lick the chocolate off Phil’s stomach. Lean over and do it subtly. Let him feel the whirls of your tongue. Give him the gift of being seduced by a goddess.”
Emma swept her gaze from blindfolded Phil to Portia then back to Phil again. “Let me get one thing straight,” she said, speaking into the microphone. “The aim of this party is ostensibly for women to find out how to empower themselves?”
“Of course, darling.”
“But all you’re actually doing is showing us how to please men!”
A flicker of annoyance crossed Portia’s face, but her voice was controlled as she said, “But darling, when you learn how to please the man in your life, you’re in essence pleasing yourself.”
“This isn’t pleasing a man. This is objectification. We say it’s wrong for men to objectify women, that it’s degrading. But it’s perfectly acceptable, in order to empower ourselves, to treat men like sexual objects?”
“Let’s ask the man in question,” the other woman said. “Do you feel objectified, Phil? Or do you want Emma to release herself from her inhibitions and lick the chocolate off your stomach?”
Phil grinned. “Of course I want her to lick the chocolate off my stomach. Come on, Em, for old time’s sake.”
“You know each other?” Portia said.
“Emma and I have a rich and, er, diverse history.”
“But that changes everything! In fact, we can use this to our advantage to demonstrate an even more important lesson tonight. Why did you two break up?”
“We just weren’t well suited,” Emma said.
“Hmmm.” Portia eyed them speculatively before grabbing the microphone. “Ladies, these two used to be a couple, but they broke up. Let’s see if we can put the magic back into their relationship, by teaching Emma new tricks to please her man.”
“I’m like an old dog.” Emma shrugged. “You can’t teach me new tricks.”
“Em, you might have a sharp tongue, but I draw the line at calling you a bitch,” Phil drawled.
“Why, thank you. If you’re so keen on someone licking your stomach, though, why not get a real dog to do it for you. Especially as my tongue’s so sharp. Never know—it might draw blood.”
“But chocolate can kill dogs!” he said. “I would never have suspected you of cruelty to animals, Em. Better call the SPCA….”
“You do know what the SPCA really stands for?”
“Stop Phil’s Chocolate Addiction.”
Mayvis, who had been standing in the shadows, walked into the light. “I’ll be your volunteer, Portia. These two clearly have issues.”
“Which you knew about.” Emma’s voice dripped icicles.
“Hey, I thought I’d bring about a reconciliation.”
“So you’re running away, Em?” Phil said. “As always.”
“It’s you who ran out on me,” she said under her breath.
“That doesn’t mean I didn’t want you to catch me again.”
“I stopped playing ‘kissing catches’ when I was a child, Phil. Maybe you should grow up, too.”
Moving forward, she lowered Phil’s blindfold and gazed into his eyes for a long moment. Leaning in, she kissed him softly on the lips, and when he responded, she slid her tongue inside his mouth and tangled it with his. The kiss intensified, and she almost lost track of time and place and the fact she was in front of a hundred people, in a crowded nightclub.
After a long while, she drew back. At the blazing light in Phil’s eyes, she smiled and covered his eyes with the blindfold again.
“For old time’s sake, Phil,” she said quietly, before walking off the stage.
Alissa Baxter was born in South Africa, and grew up with her nose in a book on a poultry and cattle farm. After school and university, where she majored in Political Science and French, she published her first novel, The Dashing Debutante. Alissa travelled to London, England, and did an odd assortment of jobs while researching her second novel, Lord Fenmore’s Wager, which she wrote after she moved back to South Africa and settled in Durban. Alissa then relocated to Cape Town where she wrote her third novel, Send and Receive, before moving to Johannesburg, where she currently lives with her husband and two sons.
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Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1146980.Alissa_Baxter