On February 18th, I'll be re-releasing Cinder, my gay
re-telling of Cinderella. And on March 16th, I have a novella called Normal
Enough coming from Amber Allure. It's a fun and sexy little
Simply comment on this post to win an ebook from Marie's backlist (winner's choice).
News and Information from Marie
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.
You can find Marie at http://mariesexton.net/, and on Facebook and Twitter.
“Have you noticed the moon tonight?” Nick asked suddenly.
The change of subject surprised me. He was staring out my sliding glass door, and he reached out to me. “Come look,” he said as his fingers touched my arm.
Such a simple gesture, but it caused me to freeze in my tracks. Nobody ever touched my left arm. Not casually, at any rate. Sure, doctors had touched me there with cold, practical efficiency. And my mother had touched me there, but only out of embarrassed necessity. Friends or relatives occasionally, but always by accident. They always apologized for it, turning quickly away. But in twenty-eight years, I couldn’t recall anybody touching me there the way Nick was touching me now. I felt the need to hold perfectly still, lest he realize he was touching my ruined arm and pull away.
His fingers moved again, a tickle on my flesh, a spark of energy that raced up my arm, over my shoulder, and raised goose bumps on the back of my neck. I shivered, suddenly transported back to a day from my childhood: sitting in the cold, prickly grass in the shade of a tree, the buzz of a distant lawnmower, traffic passing on the street, and me, enthralled by a ladybug crawling on my left arm. The almost imperceptible kiss of sensation as it crept down my biceps, over the inside of my elbow, around the pink apex of my stump. That tiny, beautiful bug was oblivious to the horror beneath her feet. My left arm was as good as my right as far as she was concerned. In my whole life, no person had ever touched me like that, as if unaware that my left arm wasn’t normal.
“Owen?” he asked. His hand shifted. Not pulling away, but changing from a brush of fingers to a gentle grip around my biceps. “Are you okay?”
I opened my eyes, like waking from a dream, to find him staring at me. My vision blurred.
“I’ve upset you. What did I do?”
Jesus, I was crying! I turned away, trying desperately to wipe my eyes. “It’s n-n-n—” And now I was stuttering, too. As if I needed a reason to be more embarrassed. “It’s nothing.”
“It’s not nothing. Tell me what I did.”
“I’m fine. I’m s-sorry. Must be s-something in my eye.” God, was that really the best I could do?
I felt his hand on my arm again, sliding downward toward the hideous joint of my elbow, and I pulled away, suddenly horrified. “Please,” I said, holding up my arms to ward him off, but that only served to draw attention to the fact that one was longer than the other. I looked at the stump of my left arm, pointed obscenely in his direction, and hurried to tuck it back down out of sight at my side. I tried to turn away, but I’d gone as far as I could. I was against the wall, and there he was, staring at me, his eyes wide—not with horror, but with compassion and confusion. I wiped furiously at my eyes. I forced my tongue to move without betraying me. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry. Just tell me what I did.”
How could I explain it? Talk of soccer and superheroes had left me raw, and something as simple as his hand on my arm had apparently done me in. “It’s n-not your fault.”
“Give me a m-minute, okay?”
And he did. He took a step back to give me space. I didn’t have to look at him to know he was still watching me, patiently waiting for me to get my shit together and stop acting like a freak. Waiting for me to get my traitorous tongue under control. I took a couple of deep breaths. I dried my cheeks. My heart had at least stopped racing. I wasn’t as flustered, which meant I could speak clearly. “I’m being stupid. It’s really no big deal—”
He reached out again and put his hand on my left shoulder, cutting my words short. For half a second I found myself wondering why he kept touching the left side of my body, but then I realized it was obvious—he was right-handed. And unlike most people, his discomfort at my disability didn’t overcome his natural inclination to use his dominant hand.
“Owen?” he asked again.
He was so earnest and reassuring, and I blurted out the answer without realizing I was going to do it. “Nobody touches me.”
He pulled his hand away, looking stricken. “You’re saying you don’t like to be touched?”
“No.” And suddenly, the absurdity of the situation hit me. I laughed. It felt good, such a normal, healthy release of tension, but it made Nick look even more confused than before. “My arm,” I said, gesturing with my right hand toward it. “People don’t touch it.”
He blinked at me, processing that, and I saw comprehension dawn.
Now that the moment had passed, I was left with nothing but embarrassment that I’d overreacted, and in such a dramatic fashion. “I’m being stupid.”
“It’s not stupid,” he said. He put his hand up again, slower this time, and brushed his fingertips over my upper arm. “Our skin is our largest sensory organ. Humans don’t just want to be touched. We need it. Babies who aren’t touched enough don’t thrive. And neither do adults. Wanting to be touched isn’t stupid. It’s normal.” He stroked my arm again. Not a mere touch this time. It was a caress. “What is our flesh for if not to feel?”
Suddenly, embarrassment was the last thing on my mind. There wasn’t much space left between us, but he managed to move closer. My mouth went dry. I wondered if he could hear my heart pounding.
He stroked both of my arms. His smile turned from gentle and soothing to something that made the blood in my veins rush quickly toward my groin. He leaned forward and kissed my jaw, causing my breath to catch in my throat. His lips teased toward my ear. “The question is,” he said, his voice low and husky, “where else haven’t you been touched lately?”
* * * * *