syn·es·the·sia also syn·aes·the·sia (sĭn′ĭs-thē′zhə)
1. A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color.
2. A sensation felt in one part of the body as a result of stimulus applied to another, as in referred pain.
3. The description of one kind of sense impression by using words that normally describe another.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
It probably sounds odd to say that an erotic romance heroine was inspired in part by my mother, but there’s a bit of my mother in Jen, the heroine of Out of Control. Not Jen’s romantic arc and certainly not her sex life. (I know my mother had a sex life. I’m here, after all. We both prefer to leave it at that.) But like my character Jen, my mother has synesthesia. Sounds have colors. Colors evoke physical sensations. Music affects her more strongly than it does many people because it’s a whole-body experience, involving not just hearing, but sight and touch—she feels it on her skin. I decided that this so-called disorder (which doesn’t sound much like a disorder to me, though I’m sure it could interfere with your life in extreme cases) would be an interesting trait for a character, especially an artist like Jen. It also becomes a source of conflict with her hero Drake, a mathematician, who literally can’t see the world through her eyes because her way of perceiving things is so atypical. Never having known another way of experiencing the world, Jen doesn’t think of synesthesia as a disorder. In fact, she uses it to her advantage. Since numbers have colors in her world (something one of my girlfriends experiences, and uses in her work as an engineer), her financial records and business plan are a sea of color. Makes sense to her, if not to anyone else.
The more I learn about how the human brain functions, the more I realize that while there is an objective reality “out there,” we all filter it through our senses and brain in a different way. In some cases, the differences are extreme and have the potential to interfere with one’s life, a true sensory or neurological disorder. But how do we know what someone else is truly experiencing when they see something “green” or listen to music? Makes life interesting.
And because the human brain is elastic, we can often compensate for serious sensory and neurological handicaps in fascinating ways. A blind friend shared a humor piece about “dealing with sighted people” and helping them deal with their limitations. While it makes fun of well-intentioned but frustrating efforts to “help” someone who might not need it, it also underscores something that’s obvious from watching my friend in action: blind people perceive the world in a full, rich way even though they can’t see. In fact, a blind person may pick up on things that sighted people miss because they’re overwhelmed by visual clues.
That realization is partly why one of my upcoming books has a blind heroine. But that’s a story for another day.
He’s got her tied up, but she’s got him out of control.
Glass artist Jen Kessler has hit the jackpot—a cheap apartment in a charming Victorian house, complete with a sexy, intense, buttoned-down landlord…who may or may not have a riding crop in his bedroom.
She’s not looking for a lover, but when her innocent, impulsive hug sparks kisses as hot a molten glass, it leads to bondage, spankings, and more naughtiness that, up to now, she had only tasted.
His new tenant may have wild, dyed hair and an unconventional job, but Cornell math professor Drake Matthews admires the work ethic that got her out of debt. Then he’s stunned at how quickly she destroys decades of his carefully cultivated self-control.
Soon their sexual and emotional passions push them to the edge—and beyond. But it’s not all good, dirty fun. As Drake takes more and more control of Jen in the bedroom, her deeply ingrained independent streak pushes back. And it’ll take more than a shared penchant for ropes, paddling, and coffee to overcome pasts that could unravel their relationship before it begins.
Warning: Contains kinky sex, molten glass, geeky higher mathematics, family secrets, and irresponsible consumption of coffee.
Drake laid one hand on the back of her neck. “Be still.” His voice was deep, calm, soothing. He stroked the nape of her neck as if he petted a beloved but jumpy pet. Something melted inside her, like glass would melt in a furnace, and she went limp across his lap.
“Good girl,” he whispered. “Surrender to the sensation. Surrender to me.” Still stroking her hair, he spanked her again.
Jen dimly though it may have been even harder than the other times. But the sting didn’t feel like pain. It felt like a gift, a gift Drake was giving to her, and that at the same time she was giving to him. Which made no sense, but the thought was the clear spring green of truth. She accepted it just like she accepted the pain and pleasure, the gentle hand on her head and the hard one smacking an ass that felt as red as her thoughts.
She was molten. She was soft and pooling, ready to be molded and shaped—another one of those nonsensical thoughts colored like truth. She wanted to squirm, try to rub herself to orgasm against the coarseness of denim and the hard muscles underneath. Wanted to push back and beg for more. Wanted. Wanted. But at the same time, she just wanted to see what Drake would do next. So far, she had no complaints, though it was hardly how she would have anticipated things going their first time together.
Hoped, maybe; anticipated, no.
The blows were coming faster now but felt lighter. Was that real or was that just because her clit and pussy were throbbing more than her butt was, making it impossible to think of pain as pain?
Colors exploded behind her eyelids, swirling together in impossible ways. She clung to the colors as best she could, some dim part of her knowing she could reproduce the effect, maybe even the surreal spangling, in glass if she could remember how it looked.
Then Drake let his fingers trail between her throbbing butt cheeks to stroke her pussy.
The colors exploded into fireworks of hues she saw only in dreams, and she exploded with them. No way could she capture those colors. She didn’t think she could see them again unless she was coming, and orgasms and hot glass would be a dangerous combination.
Though with Drake’s hand on the back of her neck, maybe she’d be safe, as safe as she felt now to let go with a cry and soar among the colors.
Teresa Noelle Roberts started writing stories in kindergarten and she hasn’t stopped yet. A prolific author of short erotica, she’s also a published poet and fantasy writer—but hot paranormals and BDSM-spiced contemporaries are her favorites. Find her at www.teresanoelleroberts.com, on Facebook or on Twitter, where she hangs out as @TeresNoeRoberts.