I've always been with Dr Johnson on the subject of London - his full quotation speaks a lot of sense to me: "Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
— Samuel Johnson
So I was immediately captivated when Maxim Jakubowski put out a call for erotica submissions which must feature the city as an integral part of the story. I don't live in London any more (nothing to do with being tired of it either!) but I do recall my revved-up, heightened state of existence while I was there. I felt like part of something much bigger, and my own pulse tried to keep up with the manic beat of city life accordingly. I did things in London that I would never do here, and my story in Sex in the City: London reflects that.
It is called Thames Link, and is slightly based on true events - so there's a teaser for you! I explain a little more fully in the 'About' piece afterwards, which is one of my favourite aspects of the book. Each story is extended by a little explanatory note at the end, in which the author describes their relationship with London; I was fascinated to read these yesterday, and I hope you will be too!
Here is a taster from my story:
My throat was dry and tight; I hadn’t eaten all day and I needed a shower. Perhaps, I thought, I should go home. I turned back, looking unseeingly into the window of the junk shop over the road from the pub. A reflection loomed behind me, quicker than I could respond to, and then there were hands over my bare elbows, clammy hands, and hot breath in my ear.
‘Where do you think you’re going? I hope you weren’t thinking of standing me up.’
His voice, thick and greedy, pretending to be jokey but with a deadly serious undertow.
‘I’m…not sure,’ I confessed weakly. Now I was in his clutches. In his clutches. I liked the phrase. I liked the idea. But would I like the reality?
‘I am,’ he said, dripping his poisoned honey into my ear. ‘I’m sure. I knew you’d come.’
‘You couldn’t know that.’
‘I could. Come on, I’ve bought you a drink.’
There was nowhere to sit, so we leaned against the wall. He picked up a glass for me from the pavement – white wine, though I’d have preferred mineral water under the circumstances. All the same, I took a gulp, grateful for anything wet. He watched me over the rim of his pint glass, just as he had done that morning over the newspaper.
‘I like your dress,’ he said, and he leered. A true and unmistakable leer. Behind his eyes, his mind was stripping it off me and pushing me down on the church steps before pounding into me, right here, right now, in front of everyone.
It seemed wrong, somehow, to say ‘Thanks,’ in response, but I did it anyway.
‘Thank you for wearing it,’ he said, with a catch of something in the back of his throat. For a split second, he sounded self-conscious and it was such a relief. Oh, was he human after all? But then I realised it was laughter. He turned quickly to face me, his eyes vivid, skittering from side to side. ‘And thanks for coming.’
‘You knew I would come,’ I pointed out, somewhat sulkily.
‘Oh yes. But thanks anyway.’
‘So come on. How did you know? You worked it out by the power of your stare? Are you some kind of Sherlock Holmes character, and you’re going to tell me what I had for breakfast and the name of my childhood pet?’
He snuffled a bit and moved the toe of his boot closer to my strappy sandal, so that they touched. ‘No, nothing like that. Just applied a bit of psychology.’
‘Very curious, aren’t you?’ He smiled slyly.
‘What…do you mean?’
‘I’ve given you your answer. And that’s all I’m saying.’
‘You…’ I was beginning to feel seriously outmanoeuvred. Even more so when he took the glass from my hand and put it on the wall next to him.
‘But I’m very glad you came.’ He took my hand and grazed my knuckles with his lips and whiskery chin. ‘Like I said, you’re gorgeous. My favourite kind of gorgeous. Filthy gorgeous.’ He flicked out his tongue and licked a knuckle. I tried to draw my hand back, but he was too quick, pulling me closer to him and whipping an arm around my waist. His hand patted my hip while he continued to say weird and creepy things to me. I could have disengaged, I could have looked around for help from the crowds of evening drinkers, I could have told him to fuck off.
But there are many sophisticated and sexy London libertines contributing to this volume, and several write outside the erotica genre as well as within it - you will also find stories by: Matt Thorne; Francis Ann Kerr; Valerie Grey; NJ Streitberger; Kristina Lloyd; Lily Harlem; Maxim Jakubowski; Elizabeth Coldwell; Clarice Clique; Carrie Williams; and Kevin Mullins & Marcelle Perks. Shell out a few bob and have a butchers, guv'nor - it's available now!