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Alison's Wonderland Paperback – June 22, 2010

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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-Élysées. 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."

"Your shoes?"

"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.

"Hold on!"

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.

"Put them on."

As she stepped, at last, into the arched shoes, they clasped her feet like the hands of a lover, and Lily knew she was beautiful. When she climbed out of the car, her spine unrolled and her hips tipped forward, until her body was an S that leaned toward Hans. Even in her frayed old jeans and with her hair loose and tangled, Lily felt like a queen.

She'd tied Margie's posy to the strap of her vest, and Hans's eye caught on it as they climbed the steps.

He raised an eyebrow. "An unusual corsage."

Lily didn't answer. She felt a bit dazzled.

They entered the club arm in arm. Every head turned to look at them. The men's faces were lustful and the women looked as if they'd sucked sour plums. Damn, Lily thought. These shoes work. She swayed across the marble floor, hanging from Hans's arm. The shoes were so high they gave her vertigo, but there was also a zing and a shiver creeping through her veins. Lily's tits tingled like they had lithium batteries attached to the nipples.

Hans led her past the jealous crowd and through a pair of long velvet curtains at the back of the club. They entered a dark, cavelike room with black walls and black marble floors, a vast glittering chandelier hanging overhead the only decor.

"Want something to drink?" Hans said, his lips brushing her ear, and Lily shivered. Everything he said made her feel as though she were swimming in syrup.

"Or shall we dance?" Hans slipped an arm around her and let his hand trip over the curve of her buttocks. Lily's heartbeat seemed to follow his touch, and she had to force herself to breathe out. When he pulled her onto the edge of the dance floor, her feet started to twitch. Lily was restless. Antsy. She felt like there was a swarm of bees in her belly, and it was part sweet torture, part agony as the thrills spilled over and trickled through her veins.

Hans watched her. His gaze stroked down her curves, and Lily felt as though she were being wrapped in hot, wet silk. Delicious shivers ran up and down her legs, and she twisted from side to side to let the tingles travel right to the end of her fingertips. What was going on? She dropped her eyes to her feet. Was it some kind of weird acupuncture?

"Oh, God," she said. "These shoes—these shoes are… fantastic."

Hans circled her, still observing her body with intense interest. As she pointed her toes and flexed, like a cat trying to shake an itch out of its fur, he put his mouth to her ear.

"Dance," he whispered, and gave her a sharp slap on the rounded cheek of her ass. The sting made her leap, and Lily whirled around, her mouth open wide in surprise. Before she could say a word, though, her attention was distracted by a low, pulsing sound. It could have been her heartbeat thumping in her ears or it could have been music, but whatever it was, the rhythm spoke directly to her body, to her hips and belly and the sweet wetness gathering between her legs.

Lily danced. She rolled back and forth and stroked herself, balancing on her tiptoes in the towering shoes. As Hans watched, she danced for him and toward him, winding around his body and rocking against him. The complex, noiseless music continued and grew louder as she ground into his crotch, lifted up tall enough on the shoes to meet the stiff length of his cock as it pressed against her, hot even through the layers of their clothes.

Deep in Lily's thoughts, a glimmer of apprehension flared. Weren't there any waiters, any other people wandering into the hidden ballroom? She hunted the dark corners of the room, but found nothing in the shadows except more shadows, deep and thickly layered, and the sensation she was floating underwater, drifting down beyond the depths to a place where...


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Spice; Original edition (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373605455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373605453
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,056,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Baumann VINE VOICE on June 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Plot Summary: This anthology of erotica puts a new spin on fairy tales, and twenty seven authors have dreamed up some deliciously naughty scenarios for Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and more.

I think I'm becoming addicted to erotica with a fairy tale theme. Alison's Wonderland is full of lots of tie 'em up, and tie 'em down action, and while bondage isn't usually my thing, most of the stories kept it light enough for me to enjoy, although I do confess that I didn't know there were such things as blindfolds with padlocks. I keep wondering how that could attach and lock onto someone's head? I'm laughing at the new things this book taught me today! So yeah, there's quite a bit of bondage action, but there are plenty of other styles as well. Some of the stories were tremendously kinky, some were touching, and a few were even bittersweet. It's a good mix.

The other big theme I noticed throughout this collection were older women and younger men, and some of these ladies were seriously in charge and in control. I like the idea of seeing 40-something and 50-something heroines in an erotica collection, so bravo. We ladies don't dry up and blow away as we age, and I appreciate those authors who had mature female characters.

Some of the stories played quite cleverly on a fairy tale. My favorites were: "The Three Billy's" by Sommer Marsden, where a cranky librarian with the unfortunate name of Ms. Troll goes head-to-head with three repairmen named Billy, "Wolff's Tavern" by Bella Dean, where a red-head seeks help from a big bad man named Wolff when her car breaks down, and "Rings On My Fingers" by Alison Tyler, about an 'un-inked' bookshop clerk who lusts over tattoo artist. I believe this collection has something for everyone, and you won't believe what the seven dwarves really do to Snow White.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jvstin VINE VOICE on July 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
Once upon a time, at College, I came across a theory that was to me novel, audacious, and helped reinforce the idea that what I was going to learn in college was not just going to be more high school, but was a whole new type of learning.

That theory, as expounded by one of my professors, was simple. All fairy tales, she said, every single one, had at its bottom a sexual context. Some were cautionary tales, she said, tales meant to warn young women about the dangers of sex outside of marriage. Others were symbolic rites of passage, suggesting the transformation between girl and woman by means of various symbols. Others were meant to show the transfer of bonds between a girl and her father and a woman and her husband.

This old theory was firmly in mind as I began to read Allison's Wonderland, an anthology of erotic fiction based on fable, fairy tale, myth and legend. Readers of my reviews know that I am well and familiar with Ms. Tyler's previous work--both as an indefatigable anthologist and a writer of her own right. That work, in the main, however, has been kinky, sexy, hot contemporary erotica. Characters that you could meet walking down the street in Los Angeles, or encounter in a sawdust-floor bar in deepest Texas.

This anthology, on the other hand, is a little different.

Some of the stories in this collection, such asJanine Ashbless' Gold on Snow and Georgia E Jones' The Walking Wheel, are explictly set in a fairy tale or historical fantasy world. Others take the idea and theme of various stories and transform them into contemporary contexts, sometimes very much a tale sprinkled with magic. Charlie, in Portia Da Costa's Unveiling his Muse meets a fairy queen of his own creation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ChibiNeko VINE VOICE on August 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Have I ever told you how much I love you, Harlequin? Because I do. Completely & totally. I want to thank you for not only putting out a collection of well written erotic stories, but putting out erotic stories based on & inspired by some of the best loved fairy tales out there. The only problem? Well, several readers are going to find it hard to put this away & others might not realize how incredibly difficult it is to write erotica. (Hey, you try writing a sex scene & find ways to describe the same body parts & actions without repeating yourself!)

Alison's Wonderland is a compilation of erotic stories written by several different authors, each of which lend their own personal style & tastes to this exotic blend. There's stories here based on Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast, Red Riding Hood- even the Billy Goats Gruff! (Don't worry, there's no goats in that story, although there is a woman with the last name of Troll!)

I'll warn people that if they don't like a good heaping of BDSM, they might want to skip a few of the stories in the book. (Hey, some people like it, some don't.) No worries though- Tyler made sure to include just about everyone's tastes in this book. It also doesn't hurt that she also made the book cover into something that you can openly display on your shelf without worrying about anyone looking at it & immediately thinking "oh, porn on display". What will really intrigue readers is that Tyler tries to make sure that she collected stories that have deeper meanings to them. Whether it's Belle finding the will to assert herself or two women finding love with each other, it is nice to see that these stories have more to them than just sex.
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