Book of the Month Extract - Asking for Trouble
Kristina Lloyd's Asking For Trouble is a Black Lace bestseller, has been reprinted several times, and was the winner of Best Female Submission Scene in Scarlet Magazine's Erotic Fiction Awards 2006.
"It's a very filthy book: dark, disturbing, claustrophobic and hot," says Kristina. "The story follows Beth Bradshaw, a woman fascinated by sleaze and danger, and Ilya, the enigmatic stranger who offers to fulfil her sexual fantasies. The two embark on an increasingly addictive game and as fantasy and reality blur, Beth is drawn deeper into Brighton's seedy underbelly where things, including Ilya, are far more dangerous than she bargained for…"
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An exclusive extract from Asking for Trouble…
'Why didn't you call me?' he asked.
'Call you? How?' I answered. I couldn't help but feel nervous, though I was determined not to show it. I really wanted to hold my own with this guy. 'I don't know who you are,' I said. 'I don't have your number. And anyway, why should -'
'Liar,' He cut in. There was a smile in his voice. 'You've got my number. You one-four-seven-oned me, Beth. Don't tell me you didn't.'
'How do you know I did?' I heard my question, mistrustful and wary, as if I suspected him of magic.'
'Because you're not stupid,' he said. His voice was deep and slow, so very sexy. 'Well? Why didn't you call me?'
'But you haven't been home for -' Shit. Fool. Think before you speak, Beth.
'Ahh,' he replied, knowing and smug.
So now he knew I'd been keeping an eye on his movements. I tried to rescue myself. 'Anyway, I don't know you. Why would I call you? You could be anybody. Some headcase who gets off flashing. Or… or a curtain fetishist. Who are you? What do you want?'
Damn. I'd done the Hollywood cliché. Keep a cool head Beth. Don't let him frighten you.
'Ilya,' he replied. 'Ilya Travis, if you think surnames matter.'
I felt compelled to repeat his name. I liked it. So I cupped my hand over the mouthpiece and moved the receiver way. 'Ilya,' I said, very quietly. 'Ilya.' I liked the way my tongue undulated and pressed, then withdrew on the final 'ya', like I was licking his name into my mouth.
'Is that foreign?' I asked. Of course it is, shouted a voice inside my head.
'Travis?' he said. 'No, it's an ordinary Eng-'
'You know what I mean,' I replied, a little put out at his sarcasm.
'Yeah, I do.' There was a pause. I moved on to the sofa and lay back. The phone wire snaked across the floor. He obviously wasn't keen to answer. His silence, his refusal to expand, unnerved me.
'How do you know who I am?' I asked.
'Body Language,' he said, his voice smiling again.
Did he say that with capitals? Did he mean he knew me from my club? Or was he referring to me, to my body language? Perhaps I'd met him once, flirted a little but never got around to asking his name. Was he some kind of body-reading expert? Had he seen into my soul because I'd angled my head a certain way, crossed my legs just so? Jesus. Is that the kind of 'knowing' he was referring to - deep stuff rather than passport stuff?
'There aren't many B Bradshaws in the phone book,' he said, breaking my troubled silence.
'But I'm not listed yet,' I replied.
'I rang your old place. Someone gave me your new number.'
'Oh, I see,' I said, making a mental note to tell my friends not to be so free with my details.
'So what about Beth?' he asked. 'You're obviously not an Elizabeth. Is that Beth in its own right? Or are you - '
'Bethany,' I said, glad we were back on safer ground. I shifted a cushion and wriggled to lie full length on the sofa. 'But I prefer it shortened. I'm not a Bethany. I'm a Beth. My father chose Bethany because -'
'No histories,' he said firmly. 'I don't want to know about your parents or your pet rabbit. I don't want to know your birthplace or your star sign. I like purity. Take people as you find them. Much more interesting.'
'Maybe,' I replied, settling into the conversation, though I'd no idea where it was leading. 'But background can be interesting too. Or helpful.'
'Yeah?' he challenged. 'So tell me something about your background that I might find interesting. Or helpful even.'
I did my CV in my head: literature at university, bumming around; hotch-potch jobs in arts admin and bookshops; falling in and out of love far too often; voice-over work; set up Body Language. Was any of that interesting?
'I once had sex in the grounds of Kenilworth Castle.' I said.
'He gave a short, quiet laugh. 'Who with?'
'That's history,' I replied, pleased he wanted to know more. 'It's neither interesting nor useful.'
'It might be,' he said. 'Tell me another.'
'I once had sex in St Ann's Well Gardens.' This revealing of my titillating little secrets thrilled me. I hoped he would find it intriguing, arousing even.
He laughed again. 'That's in Hove. Congratulations. Who with?'
'Tell me about it.'
'It was pitch black. We could hardly see each other. We were near some bushes. We fucked.'
'Do you like fucking outdoors?'
'I've only done it three times. But, yeah, I like it.'
'I like the sun. It makes me feel horny.'
'Because you don't wear many clothes. Your skin's out in the open, getting all warm and slightly sticky. It feels good. And it's easy for your lover to touch you. Take off two items of clothes and you're virtually naked. And knowing that, when you're just walking in the sun, is so horny. It makes you want to fuck. But usually it's impossible. People. So you've go to go home.'
'What was the third?'
The third. You said you'd only done it three times. What was the third?
'Ford train station.'
'In the past.'
'No, broad daylight.'
'Yes. Brilliant sunshine.'
'Tell me about it. Tell me everything.'
I paused, made helpless by the ending of his quickfire questions. I couldn't just launch into a story. Did he want anecdotes? Did he see me as a telephone sex worker? Cheaper than an 0898 version?
'What were you wearing?' he prompted.
Should I? Dare I? I'd never met this guy; couldn't picture his face. But in a way that made it easier. If I'd known him properly, I might have felt embarrassed. But he was disembodied, just a voice on the phone. And I liked his voice, I liked the things he said.
'I was wearing a denim skirt,' I began. 'I'm wearing it now, actually. 'It's one of my favourite things. It's A-line comes down to about my knees. It's cute.'
'Mm-hm. Is that what you were wearing earlier?'
'Yes.' I hated the reminder of Martin, of how I'd let him seduce me in the window for the benefit of this Ilya guy.
'Very cute,' he said. 'Especially when it's halfway up your thigh because some bloke's trying to get into your knickers. Is it the same man? The Ford one and this afternoon's?'
'No. Very different. And I'd rather not talk about this afternoon's?
'Fine. Just trying to get a picture. What else were you wearing?'