Excerpt Break: Asking For It by Lilah Pace

It’s Hump Day! We’re headed in a more tame direction today, with a scene from Asking For It, the much-talked-about new novel from Lilah Pace that tackles something few erotic novels do: rape fantasy. We thought you might want to know what this buzzy title was all about, so we’re here to provide a snippet! In this scene, Vivienne is at a party when her ex drunkenly reveals her kink. It’s humiliating, but draws the attention of Jonah, who makes an interesting proposition. Enjoy!

Footsteps in the grass behind me make me cringe. When Arturo comes up beside me, though, his smile is kind. “You all right?”

This is Arturo; I can’t lie to him. “If ‘mortally embarrassed’ counts as all right.”

“Don’t be like that. Everybody gets a little crazy in the sack once in a while, you know? I could tell you a few stories, if Shay wouldn’t kill me afterward.”

I give him a crooked smile. Probably everyone else who heard Geordie thinks what Arturo thinks: That he was talking about a bad night of roleplaying, a one-time thing. They have no idea how deep this goes for me. To them it’s a tremor, not an earthquake.

Arturo adds, “Geordie’s a dick. Carmen shouldn’t have invited him.”

“He was drunk. That’s all.” I push my bangs back from my forehead. The night is sultry — hot and humid. “I’ll take it up with him later. You guys stay out of it.”

Arturo holds up his hands, a gesture of surrender, but I can tell he’s not ready to let Geordie off the hook yet. My adopted younger brother is more protective than any real older brother could ever be. He’s slow to anger, but once he finally gets mad — watch out.

Hopefully someone’s driven Geordie home by now.

“You sure you’re okay?” he says.

I nod. “Just give me a few more minutes, all right? By tomorrow maybe I’ll be able to laugh about it.” Fat chance.

“Sure thing.” Arturo’s hand touches my shoulder, a comforting pat, before he heads back to the gathering.

Nobody else knows the truth. If I’d been able to laugh off what Geordie said, chances are most people wouldn’t have thought much more about it. I’m making it a bigger deal than it has to be by staying away from everyone else, so I should knock it off. Probably Mack’s smarmy grin is the worst of the aftermath, and that’s already over.

Geordie, you dickweed. I might keep Arturo from giving him hell, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to. You couldn’t have spent one single party drinking ginger ale?

Footsteps on the grass again, but I don’t turn around. “I’m coming back in, really — ”

My voice trails off as I see who’s come to my side.

Jonah Marks doesn’t look directly at me; he stares in the same direction I do, right past the fence, but there’s no missing the intensity of his focus. He is as vividly aware of me right now as I am of him.

“Sorry your ex embarrassed you,” he says.

“He, um, he just had too much to drink.” I hug myself a little tighter. “Guess we’ve all been there.”

“I’ve never humiliated one of my lovers at a party. Have you?”

Wow, thanks for describing it as humiliation. “I just meant, I’m not angry with Geordie. You don’t have to be either.”

Jonah doesn’t seem to think my take on this matters. “He should never have revealed something so private.”

I remind myself: A tremor, not an earthquake. “That was just one thing Geordie and I talked about, one time. Don’t read too much into it.”

My best bluff. I even manage a smile. Most people would believe it. Jonah doesn’t.

“If it was no big deal, you wouldn’t be standing out here now,” he says. “I knew the truth as soon as I saw your face. You want that fantasy. You want it more than you’ve ever wanted anything else.” He looks directly at me for the first time. “You hate it, don’t you? The fantasy. I do too. But it doesn’t change anything.”

I feel naked in front of him. Exposed, and vulnerable. I can’t think about what he’s saying; all I want is to get away. But Jonah’s presence – the sheer heat of him – holds me in place, trapping me. “You — I don’t want to talk about this with you.”

“I think you do.”

The presumption of the guy. “Excuse me?”

He takes a sip from his wineglass, utterly unhurried, completely and maddeningly calm. Then he says, “I want to tell you this now — tonight, while you’re safe, and with your friends, and you know I’m not threatening you. What your ex said — if that’s the fantasy you want, I can give it to you.”

Did he just say that? He did.

It’s like every sound turns into white noise. Like my brain won’t process words any longer. The shock is physical. “You — you didn’t mean — ”

“Rape as fantasy. You’d like to play one role. I’d like to play another.” Jonah’s tone remains diffident, but his eyes tell another story. He stares at me so intently that I can’t help picturing him in the role he wants to play. “On your terms, and within your limits. But I think we could … satisfy each other.”

I can’t even answer him.

Apparently I look as shocked as I feel, because Jonah says, “You’re safe. You’re with friends. Even if you were alone, you’d be safe with me.”

There are a thousand objections I could make, from long outraged diatribes to a slap on the face he’s surely earned. I go with, “I don’t even know you.”

“That’s going to make it better for you,” Jonah says. “With a boyfriend, you can pretend — but it’s a joke, really. A game. Not the fantasy you really want. Me? I’m nearly a stranger. I can do more than fuck you. I can scare you a little. Just a little. Enough to make it what you really want.”

I need to shut this down. “This is crazy. You know that, right? And it’s never, ever happening.” 

“It’s your fantasy, and mine. Chances like this don’t come along often — two people twisted in the exact same way.” Jonah smiles; it’s a fierce expression, rather than a friendly one. “If we don’t make something out of this, I think you’ll regret it. I know I will.”

I want to tell Jonah that he’s wrong. I want to tell him to fuck off. I want to make it clear that I’m not the twisted woman he described — but I can’t. This man has already seen right through me. “I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation.” 

“We can have a lot more than that. Think about it.”

Asking For It is available now digitally and in print. For (steamier) erotica excerpts visit our Everything Erotica page.

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