Happy belated New Year to all! I’m pleased to say that my latest short story, A Stranger’s Touch, is now available at Amber Allure Press. This tells the story of male prostitute, Red, who is given an assignment by his pimp and lover, Robbie, with a very unusual client. Red meets the stranger in a darkened house in London and, during their sessions, he learns more than he ever knew about lust, love and his own personal history. How will his curious and life-enhancing encounters with the stranger affect his relationship with Robbie and his clients, and can love ever be part of a hooker's life at all?
I first started writing this story when I’d given an assignment to the writers’ group at the University where I work. One of the choices was to write about someone in a darkened room waiting for something to happen, and I was astonished at exactly how inspirational I found the task. It was as if Red had sprung fully formed into my mind and I could hear his bleak, strong, surprisingly measured voice very clearly. Prostitution is a profession I've written about in the past, and I suspect I’ll write about it again.
Here’s an extract from the beginning of A Stranger’s Touch:
The air felt heavy as if there was something weighing down on my shoulders that I couldn’t shake off. It might have been my own fear. I didn’t know. Odd how dark everything was, in spite of the torch I’d remembered to bring. It was shining at my feet. The narrow band of light only increased the sense of darkness. I could hear the sound of my breathing, though sometimes I fancied there was a faint hiss behind it, as if someone else might be in the room with me. Someone who was echoing the rhythm of my breath, pacing their pulse to mine. It made me shiver and I forced myself to regulate my breathing again.
I couldn’t remember why I agreed to any of this.
No. I did remember. It was what Robbie had wanted. And the money. That always helped. The chair beneath me pressed into the back of my legs and I shifted my position to try to get a little more comfortable. This assignment wasn’t turning out to be quite as straightforward as Robbie promised me it would. And he tended to tell me the truth. Which wasn’t bad for a pimp. In fact it was one of his great strengths. He was pretty stylish in bed as well, I had to say. He was so damn good at knowing what tricks broke me open, every time.
Whereas my great strength was doing whatever I was told to do.
Robbie had ordered me to dress sexy and tight—it had pissed me off to hear him as I always dressed sexy and tight. That was my job, wasn’t it? But I hadn’t let any of that show. I knew my trade, knew when to act pretty. He’d told me to come here, an empty house at the west of London. He’d said the door would be open but the lights would have been cut off. He’d been right, too. I had to admit I’d been spooked as I’d followed his instructions—using the torch he’d given me to find my way upstairs and into the first room on the right, where as he’d promised there was a chair in the middle to sit on. I even wondered whether some crazy guy might leap out at me with a knife, or worse, but I kept telling myself that some clients liked the weird stuff, and Robbie checked everything out. In the four years I’d been working for him, he’d looked after me and he’d never let me down. So I got on with the job and here I was.
Waiting for whatever was going to happen next.
It struck me that I had no idea how long I’d been waiting. Maybe the client wasn’t going to show? That happened sometimes. Oh well, I’d chalk it up to experience, ring Robbie when I got out into the street and see if he had anything else for me tonight.
With a small sigh, I began to reach down for the torch at my feet, and it was then that someone spoke.
“No, don’t move,” the voice said, and I froze.
Male, soft-spoken. Confident, too. I hadn’t had any idea there was someone else here, not really. I hadn’t seen him when I’d come in—he must have been in the shadows at the edge of the room. I thought the breathing had been my imagination. I’d been wrong.
Slowly, I returned to my sitting position.
“Hello,” I said into the blackness. “My name’s Red. I’m named for my hair, though it’s more golden than red. Robbie sent me.”
“I know who you are.”
I licked my lips. “What would you like me to do? I’m here to please you.”
A sound almost like laughter. “I’d like you to sit. And wait for me.”
“As you wish.” I tried to stare into the corner to my right where the voice came from, but I couldn’t make out his shape. No light at all came from the blacked-out window. I’d known from the outset that this job was going to be weird, but I hadn’t realised how weird.
What happened next was the strangest of all.
Something in the air shifted, and when I next heard his voice, he was standing right in front of me.
“Open your legs,” he said, “as wide as you can.”
I did so. He moved in closer, so he towered over me, between my legs. I breathed in deeply, catching the spicy smell of him. He reminded me of the sort of herbs my mother used to cook with, a long time ago. And limes, too. He smelt of limes. Another memory.
“Do you like the way I smell, Red?”
“Yes,” I said, my heart beating faster at the way he’d guessed at my thoughts. “Yes, I like it very much.”
“Good. I spent a long time choosing it. I chose it for you.”
Questions crowded my tongue, questions it would, of course, be impossible to ask him. What he did next took them all away.
Slim fingers began to massage my skull. To my surprise, I groaned and my cock tightened in my jeans, straining against the zip. I thrust up toward the man. Our legs rubbed together. I shifted to keep the contact.
Another sound like laughter. “Are you hard? Already?”
Mesmerised by the slow and regular stroke of his hand through my hair—back and forth, back and forth—I nodded before I realised he couldn’t see the gesture, though, of course, he could feel it. “Yes.”
“Are you always so easily turned on?”
“Yes. I like my job very much. I enjoy sex.”
“But I don’t intend to touch your genitals today, or allow you to touch mine.”
A throb of disappointment powered through me. “Can I touch you anywhere else? Please?”
This time his laughter was obvious. “A prostitute begging to touch a client? You are already doing so in any case, though not with your hands, so your question is unnecessary. You’re an unusual man, Red. Robbie was right about you.”
Yesterday, I received my first review of the story from Jessewave Reviews who rated it 4.5 stars and said:
There are two themes running through this story. Firstly there are the encounters that Red has with the stranger, who through touch allows Red to deal with some of the things in his life, such as being a sex-addict and having a troubled past. This part of the book was a little confusing, deliberately so, as we never discover who the strange man is, and what his reasons are for wanting to help Red. There’s a lyrical and dreamlike quality to the writing in this section that I found quite beautiful and, like Red, I began to look forward to the encounters between Red and the stranger to see what other changes it would bring in him ...
You can read the rest of this review at Jessewave Reviews.
You can also view the book trailer at YouTube.
And further information and extracts can be found at Amber Allure. For more information on my other m/m novels and short stories, please feel free to visit my website and browse!