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FREEDOM (excerpt) by Jay Humphrey

They say in vino veritas. Well, it’s sure true that a bottle of wine and a few Mai Tais will kinda make you feel like, you know, just go for it! Or was it the seven-year itch? My wife Jennie and I had been married about seven years. All I know is that Freedée walked up to me in the downtown Papeete gallery, put her hand on my shoulder, stretched up to my ear, and whispered, “My name is Freedée. That means freedom.” Then she licked my ear—only a little flick. I just stood there. In shock, I guess. She grabbed my arm and started to show me around the paintings.

Well. Freedée. There she was. Five foot three inches of bronze-skinned, black-haired, dark-eyed Tahitian … energy. She looked just like the woman on a South Seas calendar that, as a teenager, I’d pinned on my bedroom wall back in Cleveland. When Jennie and I married and got our own place, she let me keep the picture tacked up in the garage next to my workbench.

Freedée stopped. “This one’s of me,” she said, pointing to a beautiful nude. “The artist is a friend of mine. Are you an artist? Maybe you’d like to paint me? Think you’re up to it?”

What did she mean by that? Was that a kind of, you know, racy joke? I sort of hedged my bets in answering. “I think so, I guess, if I understand you, that is.”

“So you do talk,” she purred.

“Yes, I do,” I said proudly. I was feeling pretty good.

I should tell you my name. It’s Gerry Smythe, a common name, except for the spelling. I think the “y” and the “e” give it a touch of class. But I’m really just an ordinary guy, I guess. I’ve been a loan officer in a bank for eight years. Not a very exciting job, but it’s stable. In these crazy times, it’s good to have an anchor you can trust. You know, meat and potatoes on the table, and next month’s rent pretty much guaranteed.

I’d dreamed of Tahiti ever since I got the calendar with the picture of that bare-breasted woman lying on the sand at the edge of an amazing blue lagoon. Not too many topless Tahitians in Cleveland. Except for maybe at Cheetahs, but I certainly don’t go there. So, finally, there I was. Jennie and I’d saved enough to take a seven-day, six-night vacation package to Tahiti. The first night, we’d seen a Tahitian dance show at the hotel. Man! Can those women move their hips! And the men, all that knee wobbling and thrusting! The whole thing’s, well, you know, kinda suggestive. Probably wouldn’t go over too well with our church group, but Jennie didn’t seem to mind. She’s such a good sport.

Speaking of the hotel, we loved the place. We even took pictures of the all-you-can-eat dinner buffet. Anyway, our second night in Papeete, we decided to check out the local art scene. And now this thing with Freedée was happening. I’m sure it’s every man’s fantasy. So what was wrong with this picture? You’ve probably guessed by now. Jennie. She had just returned from the bathroom, and was now standing about 20 feet from us, staring.

I’m sure it was the alcohol’s fault. We’d shared a bottle of French wine at a very late lunch around the hotel pool. The sun warmed our skin right through the canvas umbrella. After lunch, even with a coffee, I felt a little high. Back in our room, I’d hoped Jennie and I would maybe, you know … but she wanted to take a nap. So I went back down to the lobby, and read a book for a couple hours.

Just before sunset, we took a shower, then set out for our walk. A bar on the waterfront had a late happy hour, so each of us had a Mai Tai. It was a beautiful scene. Just the two of us, sitting there watching the surf break way out on the reef. We left the bar, and, thanks to the trusty tourist map from the hotel, we found the gallery we were looking for.

I love the way Jennie looked that evening. She had on a pair of tight white pants and a dark blue camisole kinda thing with a light purple Tahitian shawl over her shoulders. And she was wearing the dangly silver earnings that give her the gypsy look I like.

But, back to Freedée. Obviously, I should have pried loose from her then and there, as soon as I saw Jennie. I should have told Freedée I was married—I was wearing a ring—and pointed out Jennie as my wife. But, no. I didn’t. Anyway, I guess I was somewhat miffed at Jennie. I felt she was sort of taking me for granted. I mean, we’re in Tahiti, and she wants to take a nap? Okay, so maybe she wants a more exciting life than a banker can provide. But I’m tall, still slim, reddish hair. I’ve always thought of myself as a California surfer kinda guy. So what the hell. Sometimes, you know, you gotta take the bull by the horns. Why not play out this scene with Freedée a little? Show Jennie that I’m still attractive to other women. At least some other women. Well, one other woman. Apparently.

As Freedée began to explain another painting to me, she slipped her arm around my waist. At that, Jennie crossed the room and calmly planted herself right in front of the painting. She smiled at us, a big grin, but didn’t say a word. Just looked at us, smiling. Freedée looked her up and down. Of course, this was another moment for me to introduce Jennie, to explain the situation. Instead, I just stood there.

Freedée glared at Jennie. “Who are you?” she said, crisply enunciating each word.

Jennie looked at me. “Tell the nice lady, Gerald.”

“Ah, yes. Of course. Freedée, I’ve been meaning to mention this to you. This is my wife, Jennie.”

“You brought your wife to Tahiti?”

Jennie took a couple steps toward Freedée and crossed her arms. “He didn’t bring me. We came here together. For a vacation,” Jennie said, a cat playing with a mouse before biting its head off.

But Freedée was no mouse. You couldn’t easily intimidate her. She tightened her arm around my waist. “So, American woman, you like the islands? The hot sun? The delicious, cool water? Sexy, no?” Jennie didn’t answer.

“Oh, yes, she loves it,” I said, casually trying to make Freedée’s arm go away from my waist. But she held on.

“My name is Freedée,” she said to Jennie. “That means freedom.” Continue Reading »

Hot Flashes 2 coverWRITING SEXY STUFF
with Anthology Editors:  Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Laurie McAndish King
Saturday, January 21st, 2016, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Boulevard, Corte Madera, CA 94925

Register here

If you have trouble steaming up the page or even your life, this is the workshop for you. Spend a day learning the techniques for adding spicy, sensual, and sometimes funny sizzle to your work and your days. The class is full of quick free-writes and entertaining exercises that will have you moving from comfort to erogenous zones in no time.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, January 21st, from 10am-4pm at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, CA, 94925.  Sign up here.

Poet, travel writer, novelist and Left Coast Writers® founder Linda Watanabe McFerrin ( is a contributor to numerous newspapers, magazines and anthologies. She is the author of two poetry collections, past editor of a popular Northern California guidebook and a winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. Her novel, Namako: Sea Cucumber, was named Best Book for the Teen-Age by the New York Public Library. In addition to authoring an award-winning short story collection, The Hand of Buddha, she has co-edited several anthologies, including the Hot Flashes: sexy little stories & poems series. Her latest novel, Dead Love (Stone Bridge Press, 2009), was short-listed as a finalist in the 2007 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Competition and was a Bram Stoker Award Finalist for Superior Achievement in a Novel in 2009.

Linda has judged the San Francisco Literary Awards, the Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence and the Kiriyama Prize, served as a visiting mentor for the Loft Mentor Series and been guest faculty at the Oklahoma Arts Institute. A past NEA Panelist and juror for the Marin Literary Arts Council, she has led workshops in Greece, France, Italy, Ireland, Central America, Indonesia and the United States and has mentored a long list of accomplished writers and best-selling authors toward publication.

 Laurie McAndish King grew up in rural Iowa, studied science and philosophy at Cornell College, and has traveled to nearly forty countries, observing with an eye for biology and writing with a philosopher’s heart and mind. Her award-winning travel essays and photography have appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian Magazine; Travel Channel partner site; the San Francisco Chronicle“The Best Women’s Travel Writing” Travelers’ Tales anthology; as well as other magazines and literary anthologies. She won the 2013 Lowell Thomas Gold Award for Cultural Tourism for her story about Croatia, “Silk from Ashes.”

The workshop fee includes, champagne, chocolate, and copious creativity.

Linda is the perfect teacher for this class and topic. She treated us with enormous dignity while maintaining her brilliant sense of irreverence.
– A.B.

Great to get the juices flowing.  Safe, fun, sassy.  I would like to take this class again.
—L.K. Continue Reading »


firepoleI’d been pole dancing at S Factor for six months for fun, fitness and to feel sexy. My favorite part of class was dancing to a song that I chose while being witnessed by classmates. After months of choreography, we’d recently been set free to improvise our entire dance. I adored this even more.

One day in February as I sat at my desk in my home office, prepping for teaching my Public Health class, music playing in the background captivated me. The song pulled me up out of my chair; my hips couldn’t resist the galloping beat. They circled right, then left. My feet strutted through my home office, around the corner, through the dining room and stopped to do hip circles in my dance spot in the living room. When the song ended I skipped back to my desk, hit replay and continued swirling my hips.

“Ooh La La” by Goldfrapp (was a gift from the Universe or at least Apple as a free iTunes download). Goldfrapp set hips in motion in dance clubs throughout Europe the prior summer. They hadn’t hit big in the US yet. But Apple knew.

A few weeks later I chose the song when Ana, my teacher, asked us to dance in a sensual piece of clothing. I was drawn to silk and had already danced in a little red silk chemise I’d bought for class to Madonna’s “Erotica.” My hands loved the slippery, cool texture of the silk. And my body loved the smooth feel of the silk and my own healing touch through it.

I chose “Ooh La La” for dancing in the chemise again because Alison Goldfrapp’s voice felt like silk skimming across Continue Reading »

VIRGIN FIRE PLAY by Morris Taylor

Fire PhotoDew drops cling to white pine trees. The five needles of each bundle hug one another to ward off the evening chill. The sap that drips freely during autumn light now congeals in darkness. In the whispering wind, my nostrils pick up the resinous scent of evergreens on the Pennsylvania hillside.

Half scared and half curious, I people-watch. Hot guys schelpp duffle bags, roller cases and equipment boxes down the rutted dirt road. Old-timers embrace. Even in this safe space, newcomers cower. I muse about how different these men are from the adolescents who inhabit this teen camp in summer. Playful adult males have taken over indoor gyms and outdoor pool.

“There’s a first time for everything,” I mutter to myself.

Taxing my social skills in the registration line, I manage, “Hi, I’m Morris.” If there is a smile of recognition, I add, “Buddy, where are you from?”

One friendly person helps me find the group cabin to which I am assigned. I forget his name, but not his kindness. The spartan dorm looks like the army barracks I had experienced at Fort Hood, Texas, many years before: the splintered and creaky floor, torn mosquito mesh on open windows, showers with unreliable hot water and little-to-no privacy.

After staking out a claim consisting of one towel hook, a clutch of coat hangers and an unpainted wooden shelf, I decide to reconnoiter. The smell of greasy food wafts from the dining room, yet no one waits in line. I wander into one of the free-standing cabins that houses a temporary commissary.

Aside from the clerk, I am alone. A few snacks are for sale, but it is the array of hemp rope, adult toys and leather gear that turns me on. I hope that my feigned nonchalance will mask my lack of experience. I enjoy fondling some of the merchandise, imagining how this flogger or that clamp will torment my body.

Sensing a dominating presence, I glance up. There stands a bearded man. My eyes take in his tight jeans, heavy boots and Master’s cover—a costume favored by dominant men into leather. His black leather vest is festooned with flame-shaped appliqués in brilliant reds and yellows.

“Does your vest mean that you are into fire play?” I blurt out. My eyes fixate on the floor. I experience hot flashes. Sweat oozes from my pores.

“Yeah,” the leatherman replies in a confident voice.

“I have no experience in this kind of sadomasochistic ritual. Can I try it out?” I ask. Whatever possesses me? I am stupid as an ass and dumb as a donkey. Continue Reading »



One of the Kensington Ladies, my English friend, who, like her partners is known for her lusty works of literature, invited herself for tea one afternoon. As we drank Darjeeling tea  and nibbled plum tartlets sprinkled with almonds, we talked briefly about books or movies. Suddenly she  exclaimed, “You’ll do it! Problem solved.”

Do what?” I asked.

You love cooking; we love what you prepare. There you are! Our anthology is being published by Ten Speed Press. The Ladies Home Erotica, is right now coming off the press. Everything is ready. We’ve sent the invitations. We need a wonderful party at my house in ten days.”

My friend’s home up in the Oakland hills is lovely. It offers fabulous views from its elegant rooms, but I’m sure I frowned. 

No, I said, “Impossible. I’ve never cooked for more than ten people; I wouldn’t know where to start .”

There’ll be between eighty and a hundred guests,” she replied airily. “Just multiply by six or seven, whatever works. It’ll be perfect. I must run! See you in ten days.”

I don’t even know what you want!” I wailed.

Do what you like,” she said. “Here, that should cover it.” She pushed a wad of banknotes into my hand before vanishing down the stairs. I stood, paralyzed, my fists full of dollars. What if there wasn’t enough food? What if, because of my catering, the masked  Kensington Ladies didn’t like the food? What if the party to celebrate the Kensington Ladies’ book turned out to be a fiasco?

My mind spun. I was between jobs, and the idea of “doing what I liked” was exciting, but what on earth did  one serve at an erotic buffet? Which foods were aphrodisiacs? Which were not? I’d never considered the question.

I ran to the library and gravely consulted several books, hoping to look professorial with my glasses low on my nose as I took notes. I discovered that during the Middle Ages garden peas were considered highly aphrodisiacal, and were therefore reserved for the aristocracy.  Because tomatoes were believed to be so poisonous, they were to be used strictly for decoration. 

Eggs, from geese’s to caviar, as well as snails, were aphrodisiacs because of their resemblance to semen. I learned that avocado trees are called testicle trees in Spanish, that banana flowers have a phallic shape, and that fennel contains a natural estrogen; that raspberries, in erotic literature, are called “fruit nipples.” Then there is the pineapple, used in homeopathic medicine to treat impotence; so are pine nuts, since their zinc content helps maintain male potency. And there is quince; saffron and cinnamon, whose excess causes hallucinations; sage, pistachio nuts, turnips, nutmeg. I don’t want to bore you with more. Continue Reading »


I lay in bed staring up at the white mesh canopy of the mosquito net, thinking about the night before and … Dennis.

Dennis with brown eyes that melted like chocolate in the firelight.

Dennis with the deep Afrikaans accent that rolled off his tongue into the crisp winter night.

Dennis with the inquisitive nature about the USA .

Dennis with a sure-footedness that spun me around the fire pit in a sokie sokie, an Afrikaans waltz of sorts.

Dennis with the quick smile, chatting with my friends about his country of Namibia.

Dennis with the shy, hesitant steps dancing to American hip-hop.

Dennis with the musky smell that remains in my hair and on my neck.

Dennis with the plump lips that softly found their way from my lips to my ear.

With the gentle tongue that slid in and out of my mouth. Continue Reading »

with Linda Watanabe McFerrin
Saturday, May 31st, 2014, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Boulevard, Corte Madera, CA 94925

Register here

If you have trouble steaming up the page, this is the workshop for you.

Spend a day with poet, travel writer and novelist Linda Watanabe McFerrin loosening up and learning the techniques for adding spicy, sensual, and sometimes hilarious sizzle to your work. The class is full of quick free-writes and entertaining exercises that will have you moving from comfort zones to erogenous zones in no time.

Linda’s workshops have ushered may a writer into the award circle and bestseller spotlight. She’s the founder of Left Coast Writers® and co-editor of the Hot Flashes: Sexy Little Stories and Poems series.

The workshop fee includes, champagne, chocolate, and copious creativity.

Linda is the perfect teacher for this class and topic. She treated us with enormous dignity while maintaining her brilliant sense of irreverence.
– A.B.

Great to get the juices flowing.  Safe, fun, sassy.  I would like to take this class again.
—L.K. Continue Reading »

THE PERFECT GUY (excerpt) by Debbie Goelz

Jule Vandamme knows she’s in big trouble before her boss utters a word. The walls in Vesta Harper’s office vibrate in the grey-green of a storm-tossed sea. At Pinnacles Center for Sexual Rehabilitation, it is difficult for employees to hide their emotions as the building echoes them quite publicly ….

Jule nervously fumbles with the doorknob to the suite. Ridiculous, she chides herself. I am a trained therapist. Whatever’s in there is part of me and must logically be, well, logical. Just get this over with. Give them a show and get out as quickly as possible. She straightens her posture and throws the door open hoping there isn’t a half-starved lion waiting for her on the other side.

Jule wishes it were only a lion. This is infinitely worse—a fairy tale-worthy glass castle. Her heart speeds as she searches for the monitoring cameras. A quixotic tableau is all she needs. Everyone will think she is some kind of starry-eyed romantic like her mother—earth’s most famous romance author. How many times growing up had Jule been teased about her mother’s, um, work?

The air smells like roses and freshly cut grass, with a hint of garlic. The edifice, perched at the far end of a formal garden, beneath an enormous, swollen moon, is swathed in trails of rose vines. Dozens of classical marble statues of naked men guard a walkway to the castle entrance brimming with faceted rubies, emeralds and sapphires. Even though the statues’ eyes are blank, Jule shudders as if they are staring at her. Jule knows better than anyone about the truth of fairy tales. They are dark, filled with witches baking children and women slicing off parts of their feet to get a goddamned prince. She pivots. Time to cut her losses and let Just Becquee win. Naturally, the door she had come through disappears as soon as she makes this decision.

Seeing no alternative, she stomps down the walkway, trying to ignore the jeweled pebbles that accumulate in her horrid spa shoes. She arrives at the front door with extremely sore feet. Through the transparent walls, Jule sees a cavernous entry hall lit by a thousand white tapered candles flickering and illuminating hundreds of crystal vases bursting with long-stemmed red roses. She rings the doorbell while shaking out the pebbles. Of its own accord, the glass door opens to a high-pitched creak as if it is made of ancient wood with iron hinges. “Thanks,” she automatically mutters even though no one is there.

The entry smells like roses, candle wax, chocolate and garlic. Something purrs. Not the purr of an ordinary house cat, this purr is deep and dark and raises the hairs on the back of her neck. She follows the sound to an adjacent drawing room where she finds a lion lounging on a massive red leather sofa. The lion catches her in its gaze. It lets out an unfriendly roar and its wings, yes wings, unfurl and flap violently, upending a bottle of champagne in a silver ice bucket and a bowl of strawberries. Jule screams.

“What is it, bella?” rumbles an Italian-accented male voice. “Are you alright?” Rivulets of acid curl in Jule’s stomach. Why does the Italian accent scare her more than the roar of a winged lion? Jule loves most things Italian—the coffee, the linguine, the footwear. Okay, so the bloody religious art she could do without, but otherwise …

“Magellan, I told you to stay off the furniture,” admonishes a male figure wearing only a starched white apron over his muscled physique. The guy looked like the cover art for one of her mom’s books. “Outside. Now.” Several panes of glass disappear, and the lion stalks out, his erect tail twitching. The window re-forms. “Please sit, bella. Do not worry about him.” He lifts his chin toward the lion. “He is harmless. Your dinner is almost ready. I shall clean up this untidiness and replenish the Prosecco.”

Dinner? A cooking, cleaning Erotibot? Continue Reading »

Join us on the air tomorrow on Lilycat on Stuff.

On Sunday, January 19, Linda Watanabe McFerrin and Laurie McAndish King, editors of the Hot Flashes: sexy little stories and poems series will be on San Francisco’s alternative radio station FCCFREERADIO, along with other writers they love to talk about what they want in a sexy story, and why.

Jonathan Arnowitz will join in as they read from our work and chat about “undercover love” and its influence on culture and fashion.

What we really want to know, though, is what writers, readers and listeners have to say on the topic. So please tune in and call in to participate in the conversation on UndercoverLove: Lust, Literature and Lingerie by calling in during Lilycat’s show hours: 12 noon to 2:00 (Pacific Time), January 19th, Studio 1A:

pleeease call in: (415) 829-2980

We’ll also be giving away books on love and lust—which make excellent Valentine’s Day gifts—to a few lucky callers.


Join us again for more fun with readings, discussion and a look—up close and personal—at gorgeous undercover fashion from Blackbird Underpinnings on Monday, February 10th from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Book Passage at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza.

with Linda Watanabe McFerrin
Sat, September 7th, 2013, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Boulevard, Corte Madera, CA 94925
Register here:

If you have trouble steaming up the page, this is the workshop for you.

Spend a day with poet, travel writer and novelist Linda Watanabe McFerrin loosening up and learning the techniques for adding spicy, sensual, and sometimes funny sizzle to your work. The class is full of quick free-writes and entertaining exercises that will have you moving from comfort zones to erogenous zones in no time.

Linda’s workshops are a starting point for many successful writers. She’s the founder of Left Coast Writers® and co-editor of the Hot Flashes: Sexy Little Stories and Poems series.

The workshop fee includes, champagne, chocolate, and copious creativity. Continue Reading »

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