Over the past fifteen years, Alison Tyler has curated some of the genre's most sizzling collections of erotic fiction, proving herself to be the ultimate naughty librarian. With Alison's Wonderland, she has compiled a treasury of naughty tales based on fable and fairy tale, myth and legend: some ubiquitous, some obscure--all of them delightfully dirty.
From a perverse prince to a vampire-esque Sleeping Beauty, the stars of these reimagined tales are--like the original protagonists--chafing at desire unfulfilled. From Cinderella to Sisyphus, mermaids to werewolves, this realm of fantasy is limitless and so very satisfying.
Penned by such erotica luminaries as Shanna Germain, Rachel Kramer Bussel, N. T. Morley, Elspeth Potter, T. C. Calligari, Sommer Marsden, Portia Da Costa and Tsaurah Litzsky, these bawdy bedtime stories are sure to bring you (and a friend) to your own happily-ever-after.
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July 01, 2010
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Excerpt from Alison's Wonderland by Alison Tyler
Lily had walked past the shoe shop a hundred times. On her way to work at the flower shop early every morning, wearing shabby jeans and baseball boots that were worn the same color as the pavement, she'd walk fast and barely glance at the shiny, chichi window display. She didn't need to see heart-breaker heels and designer bags that would cost her a month's wages.
For the past six weeks, though, she'd found herself swiveling on her heel and turning to look at a particular display.
The window stretched high above her head, the plate glass polished so bright it reflected her image like a mirror. But Lily wasn't looking at herself. Her gaze was totally transfixed on the shoes. Glossy, cherry-red, skyscraper-high, patent-leather fuck-me shoes that made her heart beat faster just looking at them. They had deep curves and a dangerous heel and they stood center stage on a podium by themselves, proud, shockingly beautiful and insanely unaffordable. They made Lily's mouth water. She could almost taste the red of them.
Once, she'd approached the door, got close enough to feel the cool hum of air-conditioned air on her face. And then she'd checked herself. Girls with ratty hair and dirt under their chipped-varnish nails didn't enter shops like that. Not without a motorcycle helmet and a package under their arm. Not in a million years.
While she was at work, emptying buckets of stinking slime-water and slicing the stems of stargazer lilies, Lily let her imagination wander. In those shoes, she'd be able to walk anywhere--up red carpets and through gilded palaces, across Hollywood Boulevard and down the Champs-Elysees. She'd be a shameless scarlet bombshell, and take no shit from anyone. Her hips would swing and her lips would pout and men would fall at her feet.
And then her boss, Margie, yelled at her for daydreaming, and Lily snapped out of it and got on with the cold, dirty, green-stained work of the day.
It was the first Saturday in May. The city was full of mist that crawled lazily up the streets and muffled the edges of the morning. Dragging herself reluctantly to work, Lily walked past the siren-red shine of the shoes, and drifted to the window to gaze at her unreachable dreams through half an inch of bulletproof glass.
"You like them."
Lily nearly fell on her ass. A man had appeared, silently, in the shop doorway. He wore a black shirt and trousers the color of champagne. His face was taut and unlined, and his smile barely tweaked the corners of his mouth.
"I was just looking," Lily said, backing away.
"I see you," the man continued, fixing her with fathomless gray eyes, "every morning. You look at my shoes like you're starving."
"I design them," he said.
"No shit," said Lily.
"For women," he said, "like you."
"Oh," Lily said, and looked down at her faded, raggedy Ramones T-shirt.
A smile snaked across the man's face.
"It's what's underneath that matters," he said, his eyes hooking on Lily's chest.
If Lily had seen herself in the plate glass, she'd have seen her cheeks flare as red as the shoes. She looked down at the paving slabs and tried to think of a witty comeback.
"Come in," the man said, pushing the door open.
Lily's eyes flicked from the shoes to the man and back again. In her mind's eye, she pictured the flower shop's shutters rolling open and Margie cursing the empty street. And then, although she knew it was crazy and although she couldn't afford to get fired from another job and although everything about the man made her feel she had sleepwalked into some surreal stage play, she followed him into the cool, palatial interior.
The whole place must have been polished by an army of women on their hands and knees, Lily thought. Every damn surface shone like a mirror. Even the light shafts that fell across the room looked glossy. The air smelt faintly of a sweet, spicy perfume, and the shop was silent. There was no sound other than the click of the man's shoes as he walked across the marble floor to the window display.
He lifted the shoes by the straps and brought them to Lily, dangling them from his hand like a bunch of grapes he didn't want to bruise.
"See," he said. "Aren't they beautiful?"
But as Lily reached out, he swung the shoes away and shook his head. He gave her a smile that made her feel dizzy.
"Not yet. You can wear them tonight. When I take you out."
When Lily finally turned up to work half an hour late, she was clumsy and preoccupied. She knocked over a display and broke an orchid stem, gave the delivery driver a funeral wreath instead of a get-well-soon bouquet and ruined a hundred silk roses by dropping them in water.
"What is going on?" Margie bellowed. "Lily Spink, get a hold of yourself!"
By six o'clock, Lily was wired. She stood by the door of the shop, stepping from foot to foot anxiously while she waited for Hans. That was his name--the shoe man. It was about all she knew. But she'd guessed he was rich. She had an inkling he'd take her somewhere fancy, and so she'd stripped down to her spaghetti-strap vest and tried to scrub the green stains off her jeans. Her outfit wasn't Chanel, but it was the best she could do at short notice.
When his car pulled up outside, dark, sleek and quiet, Lily whistled under her breath. It looked like a cruise ship.
Lily rolled her eyes as Margie's foghorn voice called her back. Her boss nodded at her. "Take this, honey."
She pressed something into Lily's hand--a sprig of little bell-shaped white flowers nodding on a stem, tied in ribbon-- and gave a tight smile.
"Lily of the valley. Your namesake."
He drove straight to a club downtown, tucked behind the old merchants' quarter. Hans climbed out of the car and walked around to Lily's door to open it. When she swung her feet out, he bent forward and stilled her with one hand on her knee. Lily swallowed. Hans crouched at the curb. His hands slid down her calves and looped around her ankles. Slowly, almost daintily, he unlaced her baseball boots. When he tossed the battered boots in the gutter, Lily nearly cried out, but then she saw the hot glimmer of the red shoes and caught her breath.
Hans laid them at her feet.