Authors: Georgia Beers
Tags: #Contemporary, #bold, #Fiction, #e-books, #strokes, #Lesbian, #"You're getting rigid and predictable.", #BSB, #ebooks, #Romance
BOLD STROKES BOOKS
Visit us at www.boldstrokesbooks.com
Acclaim for Georgia Beers’s Fiction
“Sales Call” (in
Erotic Interludes 2: Stolen Moments
“‘Sales Call’ is an artfully well-developed and credible vignette. So often there is a fantasy aspect to erotica, but this reviewer prefers a kind of reality wherein the story could happen to anyone in similar circumstances. Beers delivers that expectation in a delightfully satisfying manner.” —
Independent Gay Writer
Too Close To Touch
“Beers knows how to generate sexual tension so taut it could be cut with a knife…[in this]…tale of yearning, love, and lust.” —
Too Close To Touch
is about a woman who has dedicated her life to trying to please ‘Daddy’ and lost herself in the process. Beers doesn’t tie the story up neatly at the end either. She leaves some questions open, which is appropriate for her character. Gretchen herself becomes an open question looking for a lot of answers. This is a very satisfying and thought provoking book.” —
Just About Write
Lambda Literary Award Winner
“…a story told uniquely by Beers with a clear and strong voice. If you are looking for a story where two women fall in love, have some misunderstandings along the way, and then move on to a committed relationship,
is not that book…It is a meaty and challenging story with an ensemble cast where the lines between lovers and friends are sometimes blurred. Beers…rises above the pack of romance novelists [and her] love of her craft shines through with this bold and successful move.” —
J ust About Write
“…the focus switches each chapter to a different character, allowing for a measured pace and deep, sincere exploration of each protagonist’s thoughts. Beers gives a welcome expansion to the romance genre with her clear, sympathetic writing.”
“…Beers does a Þ ne job of capturing the essence of grief in an authentic way.
is touching, life-afÞ rming, and sweet.”
— Lesbian News
Bold Strokes Books by the Author
Too Close to Touch
© 2008 BY GEORGIA BEERS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ISBN 10: 1-60282-019-8
ISBN 13: 978-1-60282-019-7
THIS TRADE PAPERBACK ORIGINAL IS PUBLISHED BY
BOLD STROKES BOOKS, INC.
NEW YORK, USA
FIRST EDITION: JUNE 2008
THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION. NAMES, CHARACTERS, PLACES, AND
INCIDENTS ARE THE PRODUCT OF THE AUTHOR’S IMAGINATION OR
ARE USED FICTITIOUSLY. ANY RESEMBLANCE TO ACTUAL PERSONS, LIVING OR DEAD, BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENTS, EVENTS, OR LOCALES
IS ENTIRELY COINCIDENTAL.
THIS BOOK, OR PARTS THEREOF, MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN ANY
FORM WITHOUT PERMISSION.
EDITORS: CINDY CRESAP AND STACIA SEAMAN
PRODUCTION DESIGN: STACIA SEAMAN
COVER DESIGN BY SHERI ([email protected])
First, always Þ rst, I’ve been blessed with the most amazing partner a girl could ask for, my wife, Bonnie. She’s all that I want, she’s
more than I deserve, and she’s easily the most incredible human being I’ve ever known. I am eternally thankful for her never-ending, unconditional love and support, without which I don’t think I could breathe.
Thank you to everybody on the staff of Bold Strokes Books.
A group of more dedicated, hardworking women who love the genre of lesbian Þ ction, you’ll be hard-pressed to Þ nd.
My undying gratitude to my trio of proofreaders, Stacy Harp, Steff Obkirchner, and Jackie Ciresi, who never fail to drop whatever it is they’re doing to read over any little bit I send them.
Their suggestions, corrections, questions, and compliments do more than they can possibly understand to keep this writer writing. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
My editor, Cindy Cresap, has proven to me once again that we make a damn good team. I thank her for the ongoing lessons on description, as well as the pats on the back that came when I really needed them. My copy editor, Stacia Seaman, is the most amazing one-woman cleanup crew I have ever seen. I’m continually astonished by the last-minute things she catches (and thank goodness she does).
And last but not least, I want to express my love to my parents, Roseann Leege and Tom Beers, for rolling with the punches and accepting my sexuality without much more than a few surprised blinks. Along with my love, I also want to offer them my thanks for not only supporting my writing career with great verve by buying each and every book individually, but for actually
them, love scenes and all, and not looking at me any differently afterward.
To Pepper, Knute, Nexi, Niko, Mickey, Darby, Henry, and Finley, for showing me the indescribable joys of being loved by a dog.
Drunk-dialing was never a good idea. Ever. Any woman in her right mind knew that. Unfortunately for Sarah Buchanan, she had too many gin and tonics in her system to be in her right mind, so she went right on dialing, taking three tries before she hit the right choice from the selections in her cell phone and ignoring the seemingly faraway voice screaming for her to hang up, for God’s sake, before it was too late.
Her dog, Bentley, sat on the ß oor, staring at her as she ß opped backward onto the couch from the arm where she had been perched, and she was almost certain his blue eyes showed genuine concern for her. Or was it disapproval? Somehow, she couldn’t be sure. Then the room tilted sickeningly and began to spin. Sarah slammed one foot to the ground, an old trick her father told her he used in college, referring to the spinning as “the BTs,” or “the black twirlies.” It didn’t work this time, and she tried to push her foot down harder as her call went through and the phone began to ring. Once. Twice. Three times.
“Hello?” It was picked up on the fourth ring, the groggy voice on the other end hitting Sarah like a battering ram with its soft familiarity.
“Happy Valentine’s Day.” Emotion made an unexpected appearance, and Sarah tried to maintain a steady voice. She
• 11 •
reached out to scratch Bentley’s head, using him as a touchstone to keep her calm.
“Sarah? Is that you?”
“Yeah, it’s me. Hi.”
“Do you know what time it is?”
Sarah squinted at the antique clock mounted on the wall, but her eyes couldn’t—or wouldn’t—focus on the hands. “No idea.”
“It’s after midnight.”
“Oh. Oops. I guess I’m a little late, then. My bad. But you know what they say. Better late than never, right?”
The frustrated breath Karen blew out on the other end of the phone was also familiar to Sarah, and she winced when she heard it. It had been a far too common sound during their last few weeks together, as if Karen’s repeated attempts at an explanation for why she’d chosen Derek over her had been endlessly falling on deaf ears.
“What are you doing?” Karen’s voice held the gentlest of reproaches. Maybe she’d been expecting this, especially today.
“I’m sprawled out on the couch,” Sarah answered.
“No, Sarah, I mean what are you doing? We talked about this. Why are you calling me?”
The tears sprang up so fast, they surprised her. First she was dry-eyed, then she wasn’t, just like that. “It’s Valentine’s Day.
And I miss you.”
“Don’t. Don’t do that.”
“Don’t do what?”
“Say my name with such pity.” Sarah sat up, her unreasonably quick change of mood lost on her, her sudden movement startling Bentley to his feet. “Like you feel sorry for me.”
“Have you been drinking?” Karen’s tone remained steady, calm, rational.
“Like a Þ sh.”
“I’m hanging up now.”
• 12 •
“No, wait. Wait…please?”
Karen’s end was silent, but Sarah could hear her breathing, knew she was still there.
“I just called to tell you I miss you,” Sarah tried again. “I don’t see anything wrong with that.”
“And what do you want me to say, Sarah? What exactly do you expect me to say to that?”
Sarah could picture her ex, her reddish brown hair all sleep tousled, her brown eyes bleary, freckles sprinkled across her nose. Karen never woke up easily. She was like a kid that way.
She loved her slumber and she was always adorable the way she looked forward to snuggling under the covers. Sarah smiled as she thought about how Karen was most likely wearing boxers and a tight-Þ tting tank top, her usual sleeping attire. That smile slipped, though, when it occurred to her that they were probably
boxers… Bile rose in her throat, but she choked it back down.
“Is he there?”
“Sarah.” Warning was etched all over that one word.
“Are you with him right now?” Sarah couldn’t help herself, the anger building too rapidly for her alcohol-addled brain to Þ lter it out.
“Why do you have to do this?”
“Is he lying next to you?”
“I’m deÞ nitely hanging up now.” As it always had been, the larger Sarah’s anger became, the calmer Karen sounded, and it was obvious that this behavior wasn’t new or unexpected. She sighed heavily. “Drink some water, take some Advil, and sleep it off. You’re going to be hurting in the morning. Good night, Sarah.”
The click seemed to reverberate through her head, and Sarah whimpered at the sound of it, feeling so utterly helpless and alone she didn’t know if she could bear it. As if it were some foreign and unidentiÞ able object resting in her hand, she gaped at her
• 13 •
cell phone. “God, what the fuck was I thinking?” She snapped it closed and tossed it none too gently onto the end table next to her.
There was no Þ ghting it. She knew that. The second she threw her arm over her eyes, the tears came. Her crying jags were nothing new to her, nor to Bentley. She felt his wet nose nudge against her hand and she patted him absently on the head but made no move to get up. It wouldn’t be the Þ rst time she slept on the couch, the combination of her screwed-up emotions and too much gin sapping her of any energy or the desire to get up and go to her bedroom. God, she used to have such control of her life, such a tight handle on everything. Of course, that was part of the problem, according to Karen.
Why are you such a control freak?
Loosen up, for Christ’s sake. You don’t have to orchestrate every
aspect of your life, you know.