Academic Wife: An Erotic Novella of Adultery
When is a romance erotic and when is it just. The key is in the sex. If the sex is important to the progression of the plot, it is usually erotic romance. This is, in part, why most BDSM and novels with other more kinky themes are going to have this label. But erotic romance has one necessary requirement: it ends in a Happily Ever After. The best way to tell if a book is erotic romance? If it is erotic, and people love each other, and they break up before the last page?
Not an erotic romance. But these are. Unfortunately, with that legacy comes the most exclusive club in Hollywood history, a secret BDSM establishment where only the rich and the naughty come to play. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Check out the Tiffany Reisz Reading Pathway. But his problems only multiply when they snag a talented new drummer—insufferably sexy Zavier Demos, the high school crush Ray barely survived.
But only ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms decades earlier. The sectors surrounding Eden house the corrupt, the criminal—men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. But no fight ever prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet. A world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.
This sits somewhere between erotica and erotic romance. It does involve the story of two people falling in love, but there is much much more about lots and lots of sex, sometimes in very…odd situations. But as guardian to his younger siblings, responsibility has controlled his life. Confining his darkest desires to secret, stolen moments maintains his carefully disciplined world…but a cold bed is the price he pays.
A single touch is all it takes for their simmering need to explode. As secrets and fears are stripped away one by one, shame becomes a thing of the past. A lot of erotic romance is fraught and filled with angsty, emotionally intense sexytimes.
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This is not that book. A menage a quatre? Whatever you want to call it. Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Note: this one can go in this category only as a complete trilogy. CW for pretty much everything there could be one for. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.
Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country. Every week he meets anonymously with the same man, in whom Silas has discovered the ideal meld of intellectual companionship and absolute obedience to his sexual commands. But unbeknownst to Silas, his closest friend is also his greatest enemy, with the power to see him hanged—or spare his life.
Imagining having sex with him and your husband at the same time. Imagining every possible perversion, every forbidden game. Perhaps, like me, he has a terrible fear of taking a false step and ruining everything—his job, his family, his past and future life. Anyway, I look at my neighbor this morning and feel like crying. Our children will have grown up and moved to another city, or even another country. After a certain age, you have to do irrelevant things—to pass the time, to show others that your body is still in working order, to express that you still appreciate the value of money and can still carry out certain humble tasks.
He says good morning, smiles, and goes back to his work as if he were polishing a Rodin sculpture. I catch the usual bus and look at the same things I always look at on the way in to work. I miss all of this when I travel. We still chat to strangers on the bus, even though the rest of the world thinks of the Swiss as being very discreet and reserved. How wrong they are! Let them believe that all we produce is cheese, chocolate, cows, and cuckoo clocks.
We have no intention of changing that image. We feel proud to have remained neutral when Europe sent its sons off to fight senseless wars. ANOTHER day at the newspaper, trying to ferret out some interesting news other than the usual car accident, weaponless mugging, and fire which dozens of fire engines manned by highly qualified firemen rushed to put out and flooded an old apartment. All because the neighbors were alarmed about the smoke issuing from a pot roast left too long in the oven. Another evening when, after supper, each person goes about his business—the father helping the children with their homework, the mother cleaning the kitchen, tidying the house, and putting out the money for the maid the next morning.
There are times during these months when I feel really good, when I really believe that my life makes perfect sense, that this is the role of human beings on Earth. The children feel that their mother is at peace, their father is kinder and more attentive, and the whole house seems to glow with its own light. We are an example of happiness to the rest of the street, the city, the canton—or what you might call the state—of the entire country.
And then suddenly, for no reason, I get into the shower and burst into tears.
The End of the Affair
Is there anything wrong with my life? No, nothing. Only the nights that fill me with dread. The desire for adventure never fulfilled.
Female Adultery, Ideology and Nineteenth-Century Fiction | SpringerLink
The terror of not knowing what will happen to my children. Surely I know that. I want to change. I need to change.
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Today at work I got ridiculously uptight, simply because an intern took longer than usual to find the material I wanted. That was months ago. He merely took the top off a volcano that could have erupted at any moment, sowing death and destruction around it. I imagine that some people spend years allowing the pressure to build up inside them without even noticing, and then one day some tiny incident triggers a crisis. Others get divorced. Some go to poor parts of Africa to try to save the world. But I know myself.
I know that my only reaction will be to repress my feelings until a cancer starts eating me up inside. Because I do actually believe that many illnesses are the result of repressed emotions. Everything grows more intense. I think about a marriage, my marriage, in which jealousy plays no part. But we women have a sixth sense. And yet I have absolutely no reason to suspect him. Can it be that of all the men in the world, I have married the only one who is absolutely perfect?
The family is his entire life. Because I have to reciprocate. And that can only be a sign of mental illness. Perhaps I really do have a serious problem. I HAVE lunch with a friend. It takes ages to get there. I thought it was pretty ghastly at first, as you probably did, too. My friend is on antidepressants. Once it kicks in, though, you regain your interest in life; things get back their color and flavor. Feeling sad? Take a pill and problem solved. I ask, very gingerly, if she would be interested in collaborating on a major article on depression for the newspaper.
Nowadays people share their feelings on the Internet. I only started to get better once I accepted that I had a problem. Could she tell me a bit about it? My friend hesitates, perhaps suspicious of my motives. Feeling that the simplest of tasks requires a Herculean effort. Being riddled with guilt because you have no reason to feel like this when there are so many people in the world who are really suffering. I try to concentrate on the excellent food, but it has already started to lose its flavor.
Until there comes a point where you reach an imaginary red line and realize that if you cross it, there will be no turning back. Then you stop complaining, because complaining means that you are at least still battling something. You accept the vegetative state and try to conceal it from everyone.
But why so many questions? Are you feeling depressed, too? Best to change the subject. My friend is thrilled. I, on the other hand, try not to think about anything, keeping my reactions set to automatic. My food has no taste. My smile, on the other hand, grows even wider so that no one will suspect, and I swallow my desire to cry.
The light outside seems gray. And does no one notice? Of course not. I go off to work and again see the neighbor polishing his car. Unable to resist, I go over and ask him why. I look at the car. I draw out the conversation and end up asking what he thinks people are looking for in life. Being able to pay their bills. Buying a house like yours or mine. Having a garden full of trees. Having your children or grandchildren over for Sunday lunch. Is it really? Before I go to the newspaper, I have to interview Jacob, my ex-boyfriend from high school.
Not even that cheers me up. I really am losing interest in things. I ask a few awkward questions, which he deftly dodges. I keep this thought to myself. After a while, I stop listening and go on autopilot. Always the same script, the same promises—reducing taxes, combating crime, keeping the French the so-called cross-border workers who are taking jobs that Swiss workers could fill out.
Year after year, the issues are the same and the problems continue unresolved because no one really cares. After twenty minutes of conversation, I start to wonder if my lack of interest is due to my strange state of mind. There is nothing more tedious than interviewing politicians. Murderers are much more real. Compared to representatives of the people anywhere else on the planet, ours are the least interesting and the most insipid. No one wants to know about their private lives.
Only two things create a scandal here: corruption and drugs. Does anyone care if they have lovers, go to brothels, or come out as gay? Every time I walk past the museum, I see endless posters calling for more plebiscites. He politely asks his assistant to postpone his next appointment. My newspaper is the most important in French-speaking Switzerland and this interview could prove crucial for the upcoming elections. He pretends to convince me and I pretend to believe him. Then I get up, thank him, and say that I have all the material I need.
Well, maybe we can have lunch someday. Easily deceived, I think: Who knows, maybe he does have something of importance to tell me, some state secret that will change the politics of the country and make the editor look at me with new eyes. He goes over to the door, locks it, then comes back and kisses me. Jacob, whom I may have once loved, is now a family man, married to a professor.
And I am a family woman, married to a man who, though he inherited his wealth, is extremely hardworking. I feel better and better, braver, freer. Kneeling down, I unzip his fly and wrap my mouth around his penis. He grabs my hair and controls the rhythm of my head. He comes in less than a minute. The fact is that it was far better for me than for him, since he came so quickly. SIN is followed by a fear of being caught.
On the way to the office, I buy a toothbrush and some toothpaste. I observe my work colleagues out of the corner of my eye, but no one has noticed or at least none of the women, who have a special radar for these things. Why did that happen? It was as if someone else had taken over and propelled me into a situation that was purely mechanical and non-erotic.
Everything will continue as before. The really big changes happen over time, and time is something of which I have plenty. At least I hope so. When I get home, I try to look neither happy nor sad. The children notice at once. I give him the usual answers. Which, it should be said, gave me no physical pleasure at all. I begin stroking his chest, and he immediately becomes aroused.
I have multiple orgasms. God, I love this man! We end up sweaty and exhausted, and so I decide to take another shower. He comes in with me and playfully turns the showerhead on my clit. I simply smile and stroke his face. I collapse onto the bed, close my eyes, and, before I fall asleep, think: I must be having the kind of crisis that comes after ten years of marriage. Not everyone needs to feel happy all the time. Besides, no one can be happy all the time. I need to learn to deal with the reality of life. Dear Depression, please keep your distance.
We meet at La Perle du Lac, an expensive restaurant on the lakeshore that used to be good but is now owned by the city. I could have surprised him and taken him to the Japanese restaurant, but I know he would think it was in bad taste. And now I see that I made the right decision. What nonsense! They all did the same thing: with great solemnity, they sniffed the cork, read the label, allowed the waiter to pour a little into the glass, turned it this way and that, held it up to the light, smelled the wine, rolled it around in their mouth, swallowed, and, finally, gave an approving nod.
Unlike the fake, predictable tasters of wine, the nerds were at least real and made no attempt to impress me. The nerds made me feel like a plain-Jane ignoramus, and were more interested in pirating things on the Internet than they were in my breasts or legs. I accepted without hesitation. His eyes shine. What have I got to lose? I know all the methods, diversions, traps, and objectives. I ask him to tell me more about himself, about his personal life. Everything I say is scrutinized, questioned, published. Or listening to music for hours, smoking, or doing anything that other people deem to be wrong.
No one cares about his personal life. Every twenty-nine years the planet returns to the same point in the sky that it occupied at the moment of our birth. No, my Saturn return has already happened. I need to know exactly what it means. He gives me a lesson in astrology: Saturn takes twenty-nine years to return to the point in the sky where it was at the moment we were born.
Until that happens, everything seems possible, our dreams can come true, and any walls hemming us in can still be broken down. When Saturn completes this cycle, it puts an end to any romanticism. Happiness is not something that can be precisely measured, discussed in plebiscites, or analyzed by specialists. Your silence says it all. It merely reflects my surprise and confusion. Are they trying to destroy my country with a chemical weapon designed to create a sense of profound frustration? Why is it that everyone I talk to feels the same?
But tormented souls have this incredible ability to recognize and approach one another, thus compounding their grief. Why did I see only the superficial way he talked about politics or the pedantic way he tasted the wine? The return of Saturn. Perhaps in my childhood, my parents and my grandparents asked that question, but no one has since.
The red lights in my mind start to flash. Then, in an almost suicidal gesture, I say yes. Perhaps going to bed with someone who just touched my breasts when we were teenagers will be good for my marriage, as it was yesterday, when I gave him oral sex in the morning and had multiple orgasms with my husband later that night. I ask who he was talking to, and he says it was his wife.
The director of a large pharmaceutical company wants to meet and possibly invest money in the final phase of his campaign to be elected to the Council of States. The elections are fast approaching. That there are rumors about him and his wife, that they have an open marriage. I need to forget the spark that dazzled me at and realize that he just wants to use me. I, too, need someone to sleep with. We pause on the sidewalk outside the restaurant. He looks around as if we make a highly suspicious couple. I finished high school with brilliant results.
By the way, why did we stop going out again? I think at the time everyone was simply busy hooking up with everyone else, and no one stayed with anyone for very long. What started out as a temporary job became a permanent decision: a need to help. My list of clients grew and grew. My reputation spread throughout the city. My father insisted that it was time for me to give it all up and go and work in the law practice of a friend of his, but I was just too excited by each new case I won.
Then I came across a completely archaic law that has absolutely no relevance today. We needed major changes in how the city was governed. We campaigned with almost no money, because my father was completely opposed. But my clients were all in favor. I was elected by a tiny majority, but I was elected nonetheless. But since no one is looking, he takes another long drag. His eyes have a vacant look as he gazes back at the past. Now I can easily sleep for eighteen hours at a stretch.
The honeymoon is over. Or is this what he wants: someone to talk to who will understand him because she feels the same way? I have a gift for inventing fantasies with extraordinary speed. He suggests meeting on another day. He asks me to skip it. Jacob seems resigned. Life is becoming fun again, my previous apathy replaced by fear.
How wonderful it is to be afraid of missing an opportunity! He accepts, phones his assistant, and asks him to put it in the diary. He finishes smoking his cigarette and says good-bye. The need to please everyone. Saturn in opposition. The fact is that we spend most of the time at our cubicle desks, talking on the phone.
Privacy is only for the bosses, sitting in their glass aquariums, with curtains that can be occasionally closed. Being a journalist in Geneva, with its , inhabitants, is the most boring job in the world. Needless to say, someone saw us together. The lunch was intended to get me closer to a source. The more sources a journalist has, the more respected he or she is. I feel a pang in that dark corner of my soul where depression keeps knocking but I refuse to answer. My boss asks if I can get closer. A foreign metallurgical company wants to airbrush out certain tax problems in its own country, but has no way of getting in touch with the minister of finance.
They need a little help. In most other places you need lawyers, witnesses, signed documents, and the threat of legal process if the secret were leaked. Everyone knows everything. Two, let him talk for as long as possible to make him think that the newspaper is going to give him lots of space. And four, if he responds evasively, reformulate the question and ask it again.
You know how journalism works. We achieve power and glory early, then step aside for the next generation. Very few continue and progress. Most see their standard of living drop and become critics of the press, writing blogs, giving talks, and spending more time than necessary trying to impress their friends. There is no intermediate stage. What a thrilling way to spend the next five years … I go back to my desk, make a few unimportant phone calls, and read everything of interest on various websites.
My colleagues are doing the same thing, desperate to find some bit of news that will stop our plummeting sales figures. Someone says that wild boar have been found on the railway line linking Geneva and Zurich. Can I get an article out of that? Of course. Just as I can out of the phone call I receive from an eighty-year-old woman protesting about the law banning smoking in bars. What am I doing working at this newspaper? I know: we love our work and we want to save the world.
I drive away toxic emotions like pride, disillusion, jealousy, ingratitude, futility. I fill that space with humility, gratitude, understanding, consciousness, and grace. I leave aside darkness and despair and invoke the forces of good and of light. I remember every detail of my lunch with Jacob.
I chant a mantra along with the other pupils. I wonder if my boss is right. Is Jacob being unfaithful to his wife? Is he being blackmailed? The teacher asks us to imagine ourselves surrounded by an armor made of light. We have to find a middle path, where there is neither joy nor suffering, only profound peace. Duality of existence? A middle path? That sounds as unnatural as keeping my cholesterol level at seventy like my doctor is always telling me I should.
So why am I bothering with him at all? The exercises continue. If she knew what she was asking … But then who am I to judge a technique that has lasted for centuries? What am I doing here? I go back to bed and lie staring up at the ceiling. After all, he never suggested he wanted anything more than someone to talk to about Saturn and the frustrations that all adults face sooner or later.
My life is like a film endlessly repeating the same scene. I took a few classes in psychology when I was studying journalism. In one of them, the professor— a very interesting man, both in class and in bed—said that all interviewees go through five stages: defensiveness, self-promotion, self-confidence, confession, and an attempt to put things right. For example: the world has stopped.
Not just my world, but the world of everyone around me. When we meet with friends, we always talk about the same things and the same people. Everyone is trying to control their own unhappiness. Not just Jacob and me, but probably my husband, too. In my dangerous confessional state, these things are beginning to become much clearer. My neighbor. Probably even my boss, as well, and the man sleeping by my side.
After a certain age, we put on a mask of confidence and certainty. But we no longer cry, except in the bathroom when no one is listening. Nor do we smile at anyone other than our children. Sleep is the best remedy. I once had lunch there with a correspondent from the Financial Times. We ordered martinis and the waiter served us Cinzanos. He can smoke freely here, because we have a private view of everything around us. We can watch the people coming and going. At the moment, as a journalist.
He was the one who encouraged it, because we were both bored with our marriages. And is the affair still ongoing? My wife knows about it. Am I missing out? Time can often make things worse. Everything is following the Swiss pattern of quality and excellence. Can we move on to another subject? And why I wanted to know if you were happy. Only if you want to tell me, I reply, in order to provoke him and destroy, once and for all, that arrogant air of his that makes me feel so insecure. I pretend to be unfazed and point at the waves on the normally calm surface of the lake below.
Similarities attract. You may be mentally exhausted, convinced that your nonexistent problems—problems you know are nonexistent—are draining you of all your energy. And that makes me feel useless. She says that if anyone found out, it could ruin my career. I agree. Instead of going to a nightclub, I could sit down with him and tell him everything. How would he react? No sex, no great romantic affair to bring a little sunshine into the gray Geneva afternoon. He just wants a support group, the kind of thing alcoholics and drug addicts have.
I get up. Besides, medical confidentiality would guarantee that no one would find out. I have a friend who was cured by taking pills. Does he want to spend the rest of his life haunted by the specter of depression just to be reelected? Is that what he wants for his future? He looks around to see if anyone is listening. I say that negativity feeds on itself. He needs to look for something that will give him a little joy, like sailing, or going to the movies, or reading. I do understand. Well, I do—a lot! I came here in search of a complicated story involving adultery, blackmail, and corruption.
I give him a long kiss. He hesitates for a fraction of a second, then responds. Immediately, all my feelings of impotence, fragility, failure, and insecurity are replaced by one of immense euphoria. From one moment to the next, I have suddenly become wise, I have regained control of the situation and dared to do something that before I could only imagine.
I have ventured into unknown territory and dangerous waters, destroying pyramids and building sanctuaries. I am once again the mistress of my thoughts and my actions. What seemed impossible this morning has become reality this afternoon. The wind has ceased to bother me and has become instead a blessing, like the caress of a god on my cheek. I have my soul back. Hundreds of years seem to pass during the short time the kiss lasts.
And we find exactly what was there before. Now with the addition of a stupid, irresponsible gesture that, at least in my case, will only make matters worse. We spend another half an hour together, talking about the city and its inhabitants as if nothing had happened. We seemed very close when we arrived at the park, and we became one when we kissed.
Now, however, we are two complete strangers, trying to keep the conversation going just long enough so that we can each go our separate ways without too much embarrassment. Our marriages are safe.
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After all, it was only a kiss. No one asks me how I am. I continue to struggle. I remember when my high-school class organized its farewell party; we laughed for two hours and then, at the end, we all sobbed because we knew we were parting forever. My husband goes upstairs to put the children to bed.
I pour myself a glass of wine and go out into the garden. Tomorrow it will be sunny. I keep thinking about the conversation in the park, that kiss. I feel no regrets at all. I finish my glass of wine and refill it, and for the first time in many months, I feel something other than apathy or a sense of futility. My husband comes downstairs dressed for a party and asks how long it will take me to get ready. I race upstairs, and when I come back down, I see that our Filipino babysitter has arrived and has already spread her books across the living-room table. She seems to have an aversion to television.
What does it matter? I need to celebrate. I WAKE to the sound of the wind rattling the windows. She is good at keeping secrets, she discovered during the experience. She is, for all her chatty forthrightness, a much better liar than the adulterous man, standing in the synagogue with her. The fact is she could never talk about her lover with anyone. Even the disclaimer sounds stupid. Belying the shadow of a longed for, yet terrifying intimacy. A transgressive attachment that was shattering and also bizarrely familiar. Garden variety Freudian even, because it clearly acted out some thwarted longing for her father to notice her.
That is the hardest thing. So only silence is left to her, a sensuous quietude that slides down through absence to presence—the almost locutions rising through the lungs and the throat, and then coming out as breath—a sound without words. In the synagogue, the ark is open and the people are praying loudly. The adulterous woman begins to cry. She remembers how, on her last wedding anniversary, she left the festive dinner the servants had provided, and stepped out the front door of her house with nothing but her purse.
Her husband looked on, amazed. The adulterous woman remembers walking to her car. She glanced at herself in the side view mirror. She saw that at last she had become incredibly beautiful. She walked back inside the house. Finished the meal. Had sex with the husband.