Mischief (HarperCollins) / September 27, 2012 / $1.99 digital
Abbie Gough has done her best to escape a violent past. But in the process, she’s avoided life, desire and love. So when she sees her equally closed off neighbor, Ivan, performing for her one night through his window, she can’t stop looking.
Voyeuristic pleasures become Abbie’s lifeline. But as she comes alive and craves more, Ivan backs away. He has his own secrets, the kind that draw her into kinky games and her own shameful desires, while also preventing real intimacy between them. But now she’s found someone so special, she’s not about to give up easily. And she’s willing to do whatever it takes to melt Ivan’s cool exterior. Even if captivating him means pushing through her limits to whatever lies beyond.
Charlotte Stein remains one of my favorite erotic authors. Her protagonists possess such an intense sensual connection, regardless of the storyline, that you can't help but be drawn into their lives. Her latest, Deep Desires, reminds me of one of my favorite movies of all time, Hitchcock’s 1954 suspense thriller, Rear Window. An erotic, raw Rear Window. In Hitchcock’s version, a wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. An accident has forced the hero to remain secluded in his apartment, his only interaction with the world at large is done through his apartment window. He watches his neighbors day in and day out, meeting them and getting to know them only in his mind.
Deep Desires builds loosely upon the same premise—that as we watch life go by past our window, only interacting through the safety net placed in front of us, what we see isn’t always what we get. Abbie Gough, our heroine, stays to herself, hiding herself beneath shapeless clothing in response to a violent past. She knows her neighbors, but only in passing and as names on their communal mailboxes. One neighbor is particular intrigues her but she is unable to take the steps to make a physical introduction. She does find a way to introduce herself at night, though, when she gazes from her apartment into his and watches him performing erotic acts.
I don’t mean to keep spying on him, as he strips out of his clothes. But the thing is, I just don’t expect it. No one could expect it...I can see the nearly honeyed hue of his skin, pale from the pathetic weather up here in Darkly Falls, but buttery because of something uniquely him. Though his skin tone isn’t the thing that draws my eye. It isn’t even the sight of the rough scratch of hair all over his chest and belly, or the thought of how many crunches he had to do before his abs hardened into that exact shape. It’s the way he puts his thumb and forefinger to his lips, licks, and then slicks that wetness over one tight nipple.
Abbie finds herself both titillated and disgusted with herself for spying upon her neighbor performing such an intimate act...until she realizes that he knows she’s watching.
Your turn now, it says, and I can’t help admiring his gall. I admire his lettering, too—as neat as he seems, as ordered, in spite of the ink he’s used. I’m fairly certain it’s lipstick—so red and garish, glaring in the backwash of that strange light from his apartment—but of course I can’t fathom why. I’m just supposed to watch, I think. That’s my role: to watch him peel out of his clothes and abuse himself. He has to know that I can’t do the same for him in return, no matter how tightly he folds those massive arms or how closely he watches me be this shadow in the window.
Two introverts, striving to make a connection despite their distrustful introverted natures.
Once again, Charlotte Stein takes us out of our comfort zone and dares us to look, taste, and touch the desires that flow through us all.
To find out more about Charlotte Stein's Deep Desires, or to purchase a copy, you can visit here: