Lovable Losers and a Free Read

Lately I’ve had losers on the brain. Those blue-collar, struggling guys who can’t catch a break and the heroine who gives them one. Yum….

And it seems like they’re coming up in the romance world. Well, I’m writing one such hero in my romantic suspense right now, but aside from that I found Charlotte Stein’s amazing story and then there was Bonnie Dee’s new release with a janitor hero. Which reminded me of my story which appeared in the Felt Tips anthology but which I’m reprinting here for your wonky reading pleasure. Enjoy!

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by Amber Lin

Marianne Childers was not a lonely woman. She was barely a woman at all.

She was a mathematician, an engineer, a genius. An overblown calculator.

The long hand slid into place, marking eight o’clock. It didn’t make a sound – it wasn’t that kind of a clock – but she felt the tick down her spine. The drone of the vacuum oscillated back and forth, back and forth, ever closer. Any second now.

Her forefinger nudged the eighth paperclip into place. Patent shoes shuffled on the harsh mat of office-grade carpet. The proof she’d been solving, failing to solve, mocked her with its assumptions, its implications. She turned the paper over.

Silence, the flick of a switch. Worn workboots that she knew by heart squeaked to her door.

He knocked. The only permission he requested.

“Come in,” came out as a croak. She cleared her throat.

The door opened and she drank in the sight of him. Tousled black hair, ruddy cheeks peppered with stubble, a rumpled janitor’s uniform. Her lover’s eyes were as greedy as hers, stealing the breath from her lungs. The lock clicked shut.

“Quintate la ropa,” he said, in his smoke-roughened baritone.

The first time he’d said it to her, six months ago, she’d gaped at him. She hadn’t known what the words meant, though the disdainful look at her denim jumper had said enough. This time she didn’t hesitate. She stood and unbuttoned each plastic button from her white dress shirt. She unzipped the black suit pants, kicking off her shoes at the same time. Her sensible all-day-support white bra came off next, then her white cotton blend panties.

Marianne stood, naked, exposed, her only shield the thick metal desk. Her only weapons the papers and paperclips, neatly arranged in stacks and rows.
That was an illusion. For seven days and six nights of the week, this office was her own. Her body was her own. On one night, they were his. Juan was his name – his nametag said so – but she preferred to think of him as him. He wasn’t just male, he was the male to her female.

He circled the desk, inspecting. Taking inventory, taking stock.

“Tus manos sobre el escritorio.”

Her hands tentatively touched the desk. At the approval in his black eyes, she flushed and placed them more firmly. This was where it got tricky, with the commands that he liked to change.
She could learn Spanish. She already knew Cantonese and Russian, in addition to English. Not to mention the programming languages. Spanish would be simple. She forced herself not to look up the words each week, not to search for patterns in her speech that would help her translate them. That wasn’t the point. If they could communicate, everything would change.
“Ha estado esperando por mi, eh? Te he extrañado.” He smiled, showing a row of even white teeth and a single gold tooth. The brown skin around his eyes crinkled, but his eyes were flat.
She didn’t know what he said, but she could imagine. You like being a slut, eh? You don’t have a choice.

Two fingers turned her chin to face forward. That she could understand.

His heat burned against her back, but she kept her gaze ahead. Callused palms held up her breasts, shaped them. The fabric of his shirt pressed against her back. She thought she could feel the tiny presses of the buttons, the outline of his embroidered nametag on her bare back.

Rough hands stroked down her sides. Down, down to her hips, the soft, pale skin that only he had ever touched. Lower to the backs of her thighs, her knees, tickling her. Up between her thighs.
“Quieres que te toque tu coño?” Thick fingers stroked her core, feather-light.

Will you be a good whore for me? was what she imagined.

“Yes,” she breathed. She would do anything.

Gently, slowly, his fingers pressed into her. Her eyes fell shut. She could feel them unraveling, the constraints that bound her. She wasn’t smart or competent or professional. She was just a woman, being pleasured by a man. Being taken by one.

His fingers were slick. It was her – she was wet. He felt inside her until he found the spot, the one that made her hips rock forward, then he retreated. A tease.

He vibrated his fingers. No, it was her again. She quivered above him, around his fingers, like a tuning fork pitched just for him. He was the master, he was her maestro.

A soft roll of her hips asked for more. A whimper begged him.

His fingers slipped out. She groaned.

The same fingers, wet, reached and turned the paper over, the one covered with her halting scribbles and confused diagrams. She wondered what it looked like to him. It wasn’t even English. It was logical. Except it was illogical. She didn’t want to think.

“Por que trabajas tan dura?” he said, curious.

Why are you so stupid? she heard. She shook her head, didn’t know.

“Es necesario que te duele, no?” he said, resigned.

You want me to hurt you, no? she heard. She nodded.

Her fingers tightened on the cold, block edge of the desk.


The heart of his palm slapped her skin. Air whooshed against stinging skin, and then he hit her again. Again and again, he spanked her, punished her, fixed her. The pain poured hot and cold through her, she couldn’t keep up.

Her confused scribbles teased the edges of her vision. She shut her eyes.

Soft grunts escaped her in time with his blows. They shouldn’t have been feminine, but they were. There was nothing more womanly than to be wanted by a man, being love-hit by one.

And when she thought she’d had enough, he hit her harder and faster. Her breath sawed out of her throat, distracting her. She was so close, not to orgasm, but to release. It wasn’t a particular blow that did it, it was the steady, pounding rhythm, each beat push-push-pushing it out of her.

The words poured out, love words mixed with logical ones. She wasn’t speaking them as much as she was releasing them, letting them spill over. Words trapped, confined, hidden.

I thought of you, she told him, I couldn’t think of anything else.

Apply transposition, she whispered, doesn’t work.

I want you to do the worst things to me, she cried, hurt me.

A contradiction, she muttered, proof by exhaustion.

I love you. She opened her eyes.

He turned the paper over, the one with her work, all wrong, the one with his fingerprints damp from her sex, and slammed it down across the desk, scattering the paperclips. Her fingers loosened their hold on the desk, itching to arrange the paperclips, but a sharp slap on her hip stopped her. Her hands tightened, but her whole body canted forward. Order them, fix them.

She held tight. The rip of foil was her reward. A smooth, blunt tip prodded her, then slid inside. The thin metal lines were touching, scrambled, messy, but she forced herself to leave them alone. If this was a test, she would pass. If this was the proof he needed of his control over her, then he would have it.

But it didn’t matter soon. Each thrust broke her concentration, speared her focus, engulfed her mind. Then his angle changed and she was gone. No longer her, but her body only. Female. Sex. Hotness.

Hips tilted back – more, more. Her whole body waited, tensed, wound.

“Please,” she whispered. Her voice was a plea in any language.

He thrust harder, rammed into her, rattling the metal desk. Light blanketed her vision as she came, glinting off the tangled metal lines.

A rumbly groan came from behind that made her clench around latex. Hot, open lips sucked the corner of her neck as he came.

The office came back into focus. They breathed together, recovered together. Then a hand, the one that had hit her, had caressed her, damp with sweat, pried her own off the edge and set it flat on the desk. It was permission. Grateful, she moved each paperclip back in line, even while he softened inside her.

He pulled out and away. The whisk of a zipper concluded the argument. Q.E.D.

Her whole body sagged in anticipation. He would leave now. Marianne knew the path he would take. She knew what the back of his head looked like as he left the room. She remembered the finality of the door clicking shut.

But those things didn’t happen, not yet. He stopped and turned back. His eyes were not flat anymore – they burned.

“Eres mío, Maria,” he said.

She didn’t have to understand Spanish to understand what he said. It was a universal language – ownership, possession. Love. It was a declaration, when they had made none. It was emotion, when this was sex.

He was taut, expectant.

Worse, she would fail him.

A funny feeling tickled behind her nose, poked pins behind her eyes. She only hoped he wouldn’t think her rejection was because of his job or his money or his language. No, it was because he was a man, and she had not learned to be a woman. She had not accepted that she could be one for more than one night in a week. Not yet.

The disappointment hung in the air like dew. But there wasn’t anger.

“Maybe next time, mi amor,” he said, and slipped out. The door clicked shut. Only then did she realize why she could understand him – he’d spoken in English. She shivered.

The harsh staccato words ticked like a metronome. Next time, next time.

The foreign words flowed over her, through her. Mi amor.

One straightforward, logical. The other soft, beautiful. Could she have both? Was it possible? She tested the words on her tongue, whispering, “Next time, mi amor.”

Marianne sat, pressing the heated skin of her ass against the cool leather of her swivel chair. The wetness at her core – hers, his – slickened the seat. She solved her proof, naked, swaying slightly to the music of the vacuum cleaner, back and forth, back and forth, taking her lover away. A small, private smile curved her sex-flushed lips.

Until next time.

My love.

About Amber Lin

Amber Lin writes sexy romance about messed up people, because everyone deserves a happy ending. Find her books or sign up for the newsletter at her website authoramberlin.com.
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8 Responses to Lovable Losers and a Free Read

  1. Ruthie Knox says:

    Oh, I love this! I want to read it 700 times. And then all the other stories with losers in them who aren’t really losers, just people.

  2. Mary Ann Vadnais says:

    This was my favorite story in this anthology, Amber. I felt like it was just aching and sore with romance and it just begs so many questions–how do we find what we need? How do we accept what we need when it’s finally offered? Just how fucked up can we be and still accept love and be transformed by it?

    And I love this old-fashioned trope of the beautiful, mysterious stranger who is summoned only at certain times and changes the whole world. It’s done here in such a sweet, spare way.

    I suppose when it comes to losers, that it’s just the angle of perception. I read Bonnie Dee’s book, and Charlotte’s story, too and I it makes me think that a good love story is like turning a dull rock around and around in your hand until you suddenly catch a flash of light and realize you held something else all along. One way, he’s a janitor, another way, your prince.

  3. This is amazing! I wonder, though. How on Earth did this relationship start? I would like a pre-anthology to the anthology, please!

    *gets all sexy and shares*

  4. Amber Lin says:

    @Ruthie Thanks! And hah, it’s true. We talk about rules for heroines, but heroes have them too.

    @Mary Ann Aww, thank you!! And dude, your commentary is so well written and gorgeous, it makes me feel awesome. Like, did I do that? She said I did!

    @Kristin Glad to see you at Wonkomance, Kristin! Haha, you don’t even know. Twice now, I’ve written a story for an antho and then turned it into a novella. It’s hard for me to let go.

  5. Jessi Gage says:

    This made my day. What a concise, precisely-written love story. I get the feeling each word was chosen carefully for maximum emotional punch. I can’t believe the character depth you accomplish in so few words.

    Okay, enough fawning over you. I’m going to go tweet this.

  6. Amber Lin says:

    @Jessi Oh yay, thank you :) Word count limits will make you stingy with them, hehe.

  7. willaful says:

    Good story! I cheated and used google translate, but I think that made it even more interesting.

  8. Amber Lin says:

    Thanks, willaful! I hoped it worked both ways, but I also think it’s better knowing :)