The stories in Best Lesbian Romance 2015 will have readers falling in love with love all over again. A celebration of the swooning sensation of a first crush, the dizzying feel of a first touch and the raw electric elation of sexual passion are all captured here. Radclyffe, the highly lauded romance novelist and master editor always covers the full range of lesbian love- a real spectrum of experience with plenty of room for passion and possibility, as praised by The Advocate, "Every story the human heart can tell."
Kara A. McCleod
Once upon a time, Allison and I had been a normal, happy couple. Well, sort of. But for reasons I was never able to get her to confess, she’d wanted to keep our relationship a closely guarded secret. I’d spent a lot of nights just like this one, standing next to her while feeling as though we were emotionally miles apart. And that was on good nights. More often than not, we spent the evening on opposite sides of a room, each pretending the other didn’t exist, though I was always acutely aware of her presence the way you can always tell where the sun is even without looking directly at it.
At first, it hadn’t bothered me. I didn’t want everyone in the entire agency to know my business either. We all spend so much time together, after a while familiarity takes its toll and conversation degenerates into gossip. And when it comes to gossip, we’re often worse than adolescents.
Unfortunately, as time wore on, I became less able to hide my feelings for her, to say nothing of actually being inclined to do it. I could understand her desire to avoid PDA when we were out with the work crowd, but to get pissed because I touched her lightly on the arm? Smiled at her? Tried to have a conversation with her? That, I couldn’t understand. Her aversion to almost any amount of interaction with me in public did more than just anger me. It fucking hurt.
The fine line she’d expected me to walk had been extreme, too. If I didn’t pay any attention to her at all, she accused me of ignoring her and got upset. I couldn’t win.
Ultimately, the entire situation became too much. For both of us. I was on edge all the time, worried that I was going to inadvertently make her mad. But underneath all that, so much more was tearing me apart. I was sad that we couldn’t just be happy together. I was devastated that she seemed ashamed of us—ashamed of me. I was angry with myself for not being able to just accept her wishes, feeling as if I was pushing her to overreact. And I was pissed off at her for putting me in that situation to begin with.
In the end, we just fell apart. I think there was too much between us by that point. Too much fighting, too much resentment, too much pain. I couldn’t see any way to fix it, and Allison clearly hadn’t wanted to. She’d shattered me and never once looked back.
So here we were again, in a setting so disconcertingly familiar that I was startled to feel pangs of the old anxiety tying my stomach in knots. I hadn’t known what to do years ago. What made me think I would have a better clue now?
Allison took the decision of what to do next out of my hands by resting one of hers on my forearm. The sparks her touch inflamed in me lit a path straight to all the most sensitive points of my body, and I stifled a gasp. Confused both by her actually touching me in public as well as by my own reaction, I looked into her eyes, hoping for answers.
“Relax,” Allison said softly. She squeezed my arm gently before letting go.
My thoughts reeled. I hadn’t meant for her to see my unease. “You’re doing it again.”
“That mind-reading thing. I told you before, it’s creepy.”
Allison chuckled. “Well, you’re not that hard to read.”
I sighed, mildly irritated. “For everyone?”
Allison shook her head. “I don’t think so. Just for the select few who are fortunate enough to know you well.”
“Oh. And you think you know me well, do you?” My tone was teasing, and I cocked my head to one side as I waited for her retort.
“Well enough to know what you’re thinking about right now.”
“Oh, yeah? And what’s that?”
“Do I really have to say it?”
I scoffed. “You can’t because you don’t know.”
Allison leaned in so that her lips were pressed right up against my ear, making me shiver.
“You were thinking about kissing me.”
My jaw dropped. That was the first time she’d acknowledged my attraction to her out loud since before we’d split up. I absolutely had not expected that. It also hadn’t been remotely close to what I had been thinking.
“I was not!” My protest was vehement and a little shrill as I tried to come up with a way to convince her that she was wrong. My face was on fire.
Allison’s lips quirked, and her eyes sparkled. “You are now, though, aren’t you?” She blew me a playful kiss and sauntered triumphantly over to the bar, putting a little extra sway in her hips as she walked.
Game. Set. Match.