Breakfast in Stilettos ($13.95, 220 pp., ISBN: 978-1-60381-878-0), by Liz Kingswood, is a humorous contemporary romance about a journalist who explores Seattle’s fetish scene hoping to reconcile with her ex-boyfriend.
Finalist in the ForeWord Firsts Contest for Debut Fiction Writers.
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“An intelligent and fresh tale starring a quirky and fascinating cast of characters who find sex, love and empowerment albeit an alternative route. Emily Royce, a writer for the Seattle Sun Times, researches the slutterati community, the fetish obsessed and finds some surprises along the way. The author Liz Kingswood’s gift is her ability to make readers cheer for the spunky, brave Emily as she braves her way into the fetish community. The plot is spiced with steamy situations and the right touches of humor. I found the story to be a real eye opener because it is not your typical contemporary romance. BREAKFAST IN STILETTOS is crazy, sexy and funny. Definitely uniquely unusual, but fascinating.”
–Michele Rioli, Romance Junkies
As Lifestyles Editor for The Seattle Sun Times, thirty-three year old Emily Royce covers stories about the strange and unusual. When her boss assigns her to write about Seattle’s “slutterati”—a community that celebrates sensuality in literature and the arts—she finds herself researching websites with couples engaged in every Latin conjugation she knows. A challenge, considering that her own mother calls her a prude. Yet she perseveres—learning to read between the erogenous zones.
The slutterati congregate at the The Slutterati Salon, a fact Emily learns from her not-quite-ex-boyfriend, Frank Mullen. At Frank’s suggestion, Emily interviews a fetish-friendly therapist, lurks in late night chat rooms, and inadvertently gains a following among online submissives begging to be typographically spanked. She shops the world of fetish clothing—seemingly beamed right out of Star Trek—but her prudishness prevails. She falls prey only to a devilish pair of scarlet stilettos.
Emily finally braves her way to the Salon, with Frank on her arm and the stilettos safely locked in the trunk. Once inside, Frank disappears. Upon seeing her distress, hunky programmer Joe Stratton takes over as her guide. Determined to confront her own inhibitions, Emily decides to humor Joe’s request to don her new stilettos. Does Emily have a little Dominatrix in her after all?
Says Kingswood, “A lot of people ask me, why would a smart, well-educated woman like you write a book about fetish? The short answer is that I have somewhat of a fetish for people with fetishes. Kink can give us insight into the human condition as nothing else can, as well as inspire imaginary scenarios with many humorous possibilities. The folks I’ve met in the alternative sex culture have a provocative sense of self and a tremendous lightheartedness. And I like to laugh and learn.”
Liz Kingswood possesses an eclectic mix of talents. She has been a corporate vice president, a university professor, a tea sommelier, a design guru, and is currently working on her PhD in mythology and depth psychology. Her more than twenty years in the graphics industry culminated in speaking engagements across the country and led to writing credits for industry articles, video scripts, user guides, online training and the Adobe InDesign Classroom in a Book. Her fiction writing has won literary awards, including the Zola award for the short story on which this book is based. Liz is married to a Canadian punk rock musician and alternates her time between Vancouver, BC, Seattle and Santa Barbara. Click here to find Liz online.
Breakfast in Stilettos is available on BN.com and in Kindle and 5×8 trade paperback on Amazon.com, the European Amazons, and Amazon Japan. Bookstores and libraries can order through Ingram or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, Follett Library Resources or Midwest Library Service.
Read on for an excerpt:
I nibbled on one of the cookies as four men lumbered by. They were carrying, log-style, what looked like a human statue swathed in black. Near the edge of the room, they stopped next to a small pedestal and heaved the statue into position. With a shock, I realized it was a person—someone dressed in a black, skintight body suit that also covered his head. He (very evidently a he) was trying hard to remain rigid. He looked like an Oscar award painted black.
The men pulled over a small table that held a bowl of brilliant red poinsettias, which you could safety-pin to the statue guy. They applied a few to show how it was done and then gestured for others to follow suit.
There appeared to be no shortage of volunteers and within a short time the statue was properly trussed like a Rose Bowl parade float. The statue man hadn’t move a muscle and I had to admit he was brave for allowing a bunch of people with pins to have their way with him.
I scanned the room. Frank was nowhere to be seen. Setting aside my irritation, I decided to reprise my original line of questioning. “So Joe, back to where we left off … Why are you here?”
I thought for a moment he wouldn’t answer. He never took his eyes off the parade of people. When he finally spoke, he sounded distracted. “Curiosity, I guess.”
“Or maybe you just don’t know me well enough to say.” I flicked a bit of lint off my skirt.
I waited. He wore a glazed expression, as though lost in a fog. So I asked the standard filler question, “What are you thinking about?”
He let out a long sigh. “I was thinking about Whisky.”
Not what I expected. “Whisky?”
“I was thinking back on my last trip to Ireland, where I got the taste for Bushmills.” He lifted his coffee. “It was to be my final vacation with Maire, now my ex-wife. She is very Irish, down to her flame-red hair and green eyes. She’d wanted to trace her O’Neill lineage. We had a grand time huddled in our tiny car, white-knuckling the narrow country lanes and seeing the sights.”
“That sounds like fun. I’ve never been to Ireland. What happened?”
He brushed at the velvet nap on the couch arm. “For me, the trip was a fabulous three-week sexual marathon. But for her, and unbeknownst to me, it was a last ditch effort to get pregnant. When that didn’t happen, yet again, she decided to move on to more fecund ground.”
“Yeah, I guess I’m still a little preoccupied with it.”
He wasn’t over his ex-wife. Rumor had it that smart women ran away at this point, but for me it sparked curiosity. This was where a good story began, in midst of tragedy and heartbreak. “That must have been hard.”
He waved me off. “I promised myself to stop thinking about it.” He snorted. “As if there’s some kind of ‘off’ switch.” This last line he said under his breath.
He shook himself. “Why am I telling you all this?” He smiled as though forcing himself into a better mood. “So, enough of this gloominess. Let’s talk about something else.”
I was hesitant to let it go. I sensed there was a potential strange and unusual lurking in the depths of Joe’s past or present, but he clearly wasn’t interested in digging it up. Not yet anyway. I sighed and took a sip of coffee. “OK. Something simple, then. What’s your day job?”
That was an easy enough question and he responded promptly. “I’m a Web developer. Mostly back-end work; databases, e-commerce and the like.”
“A programmer?” Great. The classic unemotional, inconsiderate geek. Just what I needed.
“Well, yes, but more than that. I have my own company. Mostly I hire other programmers to implement what I come up with. Programming in and of itself can get pretty tedious.” He seemed to be perking up. “Actually, I can even do a little name-dropping. It helps to sweeten an otherwise dull-sounding occupation. My client base is heavily weighted toward celebrities. Not that I usually meet them, but I do their websites and fix their computers.”
“You’re kidding? Like who?” That was unusual.
He laughed. He shook his head. “Really it’s embarrassing to say. I always feel a little cheap, as though proud to be the one taking out Britney Spears’ garbage. Let’s just say that you’d definitely know who they are.”
“Well, it sounds like a far cry from waste disposal.” I was about to push for details, but something behind me had captured Joe’s attention. I turned my head.