Charity Sunday is the invention of writer extradinaire Lisabet Sarai, and this month several more authors have pitched in to make it a group blog hop. Here's how it goes. Each writer chooses a charity and makes a donation to it for every comment you make on our posts. You get to read excerpts from our work, we make the donations ourselves, and we all get to feel a little better about our world. Links to all the blogs are way down at the bottom of the page.
I had a different charity in mind at first, but the timing can’t be ignored. We all know what Planned Parenthood does, and we know in light of recent news what Planned Parenthood needs from us. And I know, from a college friend, how much Planned Parenthood has done for women. Two years after graduation my friend needed their help, and was so impressed that after her daughter had been born and adopted she went to work for the organization. They got a good deal; her intellect and organizational skills are top-notch. A few years ago she reunited with her daughter, now a mother herself, and they have a close and happy relationship.
So thanks, Planned Parenthood, personally. I will make a contribution to Planned Parenthood for each comment to this blog post.
Now for a story excerpt. It was hard to think of a story of mine with any connection to this charity--I usually write lesbian erotica, and don’t include much about parenthood. Make that never. Except…this once…
I’ve edited fifteen erotica anthologies over the years, several of them award-winners, and contributed my own stories to many more. In a new collection of my own short stories, Wild Rides and Other Lesbian Erotic Adventures from Dirt Road Books, two of the stories are a pair, and the one that’s a sequel does involve a single mother trying to get custody of her six-year-old child. Not exactly Planned Parenthood territory, but it’s plausible that she might have had help from them at some point.
So onward! The first story in the pair, “Pulling,” is the heavy hitter when it comes to sex. The second, “Finding Carla,” has a good share of that, but also goes into the emotional depths of motherhood under stressful conditions, so I’ll give you two different excerpts from that story, with a gap between. For that matter, anyone who would like to read the entire story can just email me and I’ll send it along. firstname.lastname@example.org (or look me up on Facebook) Or, of course, you could buy Wild Rides with all its wide (and deep) variety of stories.
From “Finding Carla”
“Keep your skanky hands off me!” The words sliced through drifting aromas of coffee and pancakes and bacon. “Touch me again, and those fingers won’t even be able to fuck your own sorry dick!”
I’d know that voice, that attitude, anywhere. A truck stop where Vermont slopes into New Hampshire wasn’t high on my list of places to look, but how much, really, had I ever known about Carla? Apart from the way she sounded in hip-swishing, femme-top command of any situation—or with her hips so entirely out of control she couldn’t shape gasps into words—or steeling herself to mount my huge draft horse in spite of her terror. We hadn’t had much time for the getting-to-know-you parts.
I couldn’t see into the dining area past the family with fidgety kids ahead of me. Getting by without trampling them didn’t seem likely, but I was giving it a try anyway when a skinny whirlwind shot from around the cashier’s counter and whacked me from behind.
“Ree Daniels, move your butt!” The manager forged her way through the milling kids like an icebreaker. I was twice Lyddie Brown’s bulk and a foot taller, but I followed in her wake anyway.
It was Carla, all right, her pot of scalding coffee poised right above the hastily withdrawn hand—and the crotch—of a middle-aged truck driver I’d seen around before. On the skuzzy side, usually on the make, but Carla could’ve handled his kind in seconds with a sly quip, back when she’d been working arcade games on the county fair circuit.
Now her face and body were tense, brittle, close to panic. She looked as near to being spooked as any horse I’ve ever handled. What the hell had got into her? And what was she doing here?
It was my turn to shove Lyddie aside, with a look meant to convince her I knew what I was doing. “Hey Carla.” I moved in close. “Let me help you out with that.” My hand curled around her fingers on the coffeepot’s handle. My body edged hers away from the customer. “Let’s put it down over here, okay?”
The wildness in her dark eyes mellowed into recognition, and something I hoped was deeper. That last morning at the fair, while I was still asleep, she’d cleared out without any clue as to how to find her, and for nearly two years I’d figured all she’d seen in me was a hot enough two-night stand to pass the time with. If she’d thought that was all I’d seen in her, she’d been dead wrong. Okay, I lied about the getting-to-know-you bit. Two days and nights was enough for me to discover the vulnerability behind the bravado, the steel determination that overcame fear—and to want to know more.
“Sure,” she said now, “anything you say, big girl.” Her voice shook, but the old low, intimate tone was still there.
Remembered lust surged back in a rush. Carla had always radiated sparks of bad-girl eroticism. Even with her waves of black hair confined in a knot and her waitress uniform just skimming her curves, she shot off pheromones that could pierce a Humvee. I’d have felt some sympathy for the driver if he hadn’t started to bluster.
Lyddie rolled her eyes, jerked her head toward the office, and went into damage control mode.
I got Carla to the coffee station and deposited the hot pot. In spite of interested observers at every table, my hand settled into the sweet spot where waist curves to hip as I steered her into the office and kicked the door shut.
She was shivering when I put my arms around her. I’d never imagined Carla so shaken. Physically wary, sure—my big horses had scared her before she’d discovered the delights of naked bare-back riding at midnight—but nothing like this melt-down. “Oh, honey, what’s the trouble?” I used my soothing-skittish-fillies tone. “It’ll be all right.” I stroked her black hair, glossy as my Percherons. It came loose from its prim knot, falling into the wild mane I remembered whipping back and forth over my sweaty torso as she rode me.
“No it won’t,” she muttered against my chest. When her head lifted I saw that the glitter of tears in her eyes came as much from rage as from despair. It was oddly reassuring.
“There goes another job! That bastard! But I can handle his kind without lifting a finger. Usually.” Carla searched her breast pockets. I took pity and grabbed the box of Kleenex from Lyddie’s desk.
I dabbed at her damp eyes. No make-up beyond a subdued shade of lipstick. She still exuded that Jezebel-of-your-dreams air that had grabbed me the first time I’d seen her, but something else as well that grabbed me even harder, even as I shied away from examining it too closely. “So what went wrong?”
“Me. I went wrong. ‘Sorry, I’m not on the menu’ didn’t do the trick, but I could’ve just smiled and moved away. When he put his hand on my butt, though, I felt…I wanted…dammit, Ree, I needed to be touched so bad it hurt, but not by his kind!”
I could recognize a mare in heat long before I earned my veterinary degree, and my experience of women had tuned me to the similarities. Women aren’t as easily ruled by their hormones as mares, though; for Carla to go off the deep end, there must be as much turmoil in her head as in her body. Dangerous territory.
Just the same, my hand went to her thigh and would have traveled farther if Lyddie hadn’t charged into the office just then.
Carla tried to pull away. I kept an arm around her shoulder.
“How’s it going, Lyddie?” I hoped my grin still had the tomboy charm that used to get me extra pie as a kid. The manager had known me all my life, and my family even longer. We’d always stopped here when I was helping my dad transport horses to New Hampshire farms and fairs. The grin could have got me a whole lot more than pie if I’d been so inclined, once I’d grown up, cropped my straw-yellow hair short, and shown that I knew who I was and where I was going.
Lyddie looked us up and down, hands braced on hips, head shaking in exasperation. “Might’ve known you’d be acquainted. There’s gotta be an explanation behind this, but I don’t have the time or patience now.”
“It’s the old story,” I said. “Farm girl meets carnival huckster at the county fair. The Lancaster Fair year before last, when my team was in the pulling trials.” I realized too late that Carla might not have included the midway balloon/dart concession on her resumè.
“Judging by such a touching reunion, maybe you wouldn’t mind taking Miss Volcano-mouth off my hands for a couple of days until all this drama blows over.”
Carla stirred under my arm. “I’m sorry, Lyddie. I should just move on. Thanks for taking a chance on me, but I’ve always been bad news.”
I wanted to shake the old arrogance back into her. On the other hand, if it had been just a shield, I wanted to know what was behind it.
Lyddie softened. “You’re not bad, honey. You’re just drawn that way.”
Carla was right on it. “Thanks, Lyddie. Jessica Rabbit is my role model.”
“You’re a fine cashier and waitress,” Lyddie added. “Never did figure out what you’re doing in a place like this. You could make a lot more tending bar in the city or the tourist area over by Mount Washington. At least bars have bouncers.”
Carla’d begun to relax, but now she tensed and glanced away from Lyddie. “Can’t blame a girl for wanting to try out respectability for a change.”
I was tired of being left out of the conversation. “If riding in the cab of a horse van rates as respectable, I’d be glad of the company. I’ll be back this way tomorrow or the next day. We’ll see how things look by then.”
“Just let me get out of this uniform and grab a few things.” Carla wriggled out of my grasp. Lyddie and I watched her go, both our gazes fixed on her slender back and swaying ass, both of us exhaling when she’d gone. But Lyddie’s sigh was somber.
“Can’t get a job at a bar these days without a background check,” she said. “A police record will shoot you right down. She’s a whiz with numbers, too, took some accounting courses she says, but the same goes there.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” But I knew.
“Just something to bear in mind, Henrietta.” Lyddie tweaked my butt and left the office fast. Just as well. I don’t mind the occasional grope, but nobody gets to call me by my given name.
Carla met me at my truck. “You got Molly and Stark in there?” Face scrubbed, hair pulled into a flowing ponytail, jeans not too tight and plaid shirt managing not to gape across her full breasts, she’d still never pass for the girl-next-door type. Which was fine with me.
“Nope. Truck’s empty. I’m picking up a couple of two-year-olds in Maine and bringing them back to my farm for training.” I boosted her up into the cab, enjoying cupping her rump in my big hands.
“Haven’t taken the team on the competition circuit lately.” I settled into the driver’s seat. “Molly indicated in no uncertain terms last spring that she was ready to be bred, so all summer she got to laze around in the pasture with nothing heavier to pull than kids on a hayride, and this spring there’s one more black Percheron filly in Vermont.”
“A sweet little Molly!” Carla’s smile wavered, and she turned her face away.
Dangerous currents for sure. It occurred to me that I did know, or at least suspect, something intensely personal about Carla. Something she didn’t know I knew.
My eyes stayed fixed on the road ahead, neck cramping with the effort not to turn and stare. I knew a pull-off next to the river a couple of miles ahead, plenty big enough for the truck.
“How about you, Ree?” Carla knew she had me going. “You been getting plenty of action?”
“Haven’t let anybody else tie me to the bedposts with Mardi Gras beads and then dare me not to break them, but I get by.” I risked a sideways glance. “I still have some of those beads.”
“So do I.” Her wistful tone made me want to hold her close even more than I wanted to fuck her.
It was a good thing no fisherman was parked in my pull-off. A clash between a horse rig and a pickup would be no contest. And it was a good thing that a row of young birch trees, first tender green leaves unfurling, masked us from the road. Carla was on me before my truck stopped rolling. I grabbed both her hands and held her off, but she got a leg over my thigh.
“Carla, we have to talk. No fuck me and leave me this time. I mean it.”
She tried to laugh. “Anything you say, big girl. But can’t we fuck first and talk later? I promise I won’t leave. How could I? You’re my ride.”
I guess I gave in, since suddenly my hands were on her hips and she was, quite literally, riding me. I leaned the seat back as far as it would go. Even so her ass made the horn honk, so I squirmed sideways until my substantial butt was in the passenger’s seat and we had just enough room to loosen our clothes in all the right places.
The sex was fast and furious, nothing fancy, with her knee in my crotch and my fingers in hers and our mouths hungry for whatever they could reach. We kept it up through wave after wave until finally Carla collapsed on my breast sobbing for breath. It wasn’t all that cold outside, but the windows were steamed up, making the space inside seem safe and intimate. Breathing our mingled scents, her skin pressed against mine, felt like coming to a home I’d just discovered.
It was a while before I realized that her sobs were producing real tears. “It’s okay,” I murmured, stroking her hair, my hand sticky with her juices. “Tell me about it.”
“If only…” she nestled even closer against me.
“Tell me,” I said, and then, on a hunch, “Girl or boy?”
She stiffened. “Girl. How did you know?”
“An educated guess.” This was going to be tricky. “Okay, you know I’m a veterinarian.”
I blundered along. “So I have a problem. My hands are too big. Okay for delivering foals and calves, but not always for young ewes in trouble with their first lambing. Even with lube. In tough situations I need an assistant with, well, smaller hands.” This wasn’t going well.
Carla sat up straight and said it for me. “So when I could take your whole hand that night, you figured I’d had a kid.”
I shrugged. “Never found anybody who hadn’t who could.” No need to mention the faint stretch marks on her belly.
I thought a storm was brewing, but suddenly she grabbed my left hand and cradled it between her naked breasts. “Was that animal lube you used?”
“Horse lube. I never expected to get lucky at the fair, but I always keep some vet supplies in my truck, so…”
“Got any with you now?” This was the cocky, seductive Carla, even with a tear-streaked face.
“Maybe, but there isn’t room in here for that much action. And you promised we’d talk.” I draped her shirt around her shoulders and rebuttoned mine. “What’s her name?”
“Josie. She’s almost six.” Carla took a deep breath, looked away, and let it all come rushing out. “She’s been with my cousin in Boston since she was three. I…I couldn’t be with her for a while, and when I got out, I couldn’t find a job to support her, so I took whatever work I could get and saved up. It seemed like enough after the carnival gigs, but then my cousin said I wasn’t a fit mother so she’d report me to social services if I tried to take my child. Now Josie’s getting to be as wild as I always was, and they can’t handle her, but my cousin still thinks it’s her duty to try. And my cousin’s husband comes on to me lately when I visit. So I’ve been trying to get respectable—even got a job as a secretary, but of course my boss couldn’t keep his hands to himself. I did some damage and had to get out.”
No surprises there. What did startle me was my own sudden, certain determination. I turned her gently to face me. “Lyddie tells me you’re good with numbers. Business paperwork fries my mind. Being a bookkeeper for a lesbian veterinarian might not rank at the top of the respectability chart, and I couldn’t promise your boss would keep her hands to herself, but there’s a farmhand’s cottage you and Josie could have to yourselves, separate from my house. It’s yours if you want to give it a try.”
A light flashed in Carla’s eyes, then died. “Social services are such hard-asses!”
“It’s the 21st century. Massachusetts and Vermont and even New Hampshire are getting better. And…” I played my remaining card… “I know a good Boston lawyer.”
“Lawyers are expensive.” Before my mouth was halfway open, she added, in her don’t-cross-me tone, “No. You can’t pay.”
“No need. She does pro bono work for discrimination cases. And she owes me a favor.”
“Oh?” Carla’s expressive eyebrows arched. “I suppose you cured her horse, or something?”
“Her Great Dane. She has a vacation condo over toward Mt. Washington. I check up on the place now and then when she’s not there. That’s where we’ll stay tonight, so we’d better get on the road.”
“You must be real friendly with this lawyer,” Carla said pointedly as we rolled along through the wide valley of the Ammonoosuc.
I just grinned, and took a while to answer. Spring was greening up the fields and woodlands. In spite of uncertainties, I was feeling pretty spring-feverish myself. “I have plenty of friends,” I teased. “The favor she owes me is getting her together with another friend, a ski instructor at Wildcat.”
“And now you’re all pals together, right?”
“The condo does have a super-sized Jacuzzi,” I countered. “Big enough for three, even if one is my size.” She shouldn’t assume I only wanted her because my opportunities were limited.
Well. That’s too long already, so I won’t bore you further by including the scene where a feisty six-year-old girl with trust issues meets a skittish, shiny black Percheron filly.
Love at first sight.
Remember, comment here for me to make a donation to Planned Parenthood. Also, a comment will enter you in a drawing for a free ebook copy of my collection. If you wonder what the heck other kinds of stories I write, you could find out in Wild Rides. From a jeep-jockey WAC in Vietnam, to pirates in the South China Sea as WWII approaches, to gargoyles in Paris, a shape-shifting dragon, prison inmates matching strength to strength, and more, and more, and more.