Excerpt from Sheer Pleasure:
Dear Annie —
While others may wonder about the success of your lingerie shop, I wonder about you — about the hidden woman in the brown paper wrapper.
If I peeled away the layers, would I find a woman in filmy, lacy, see-through garments? A woman who longed for me to trust that she is more than she appears to be?
What are your secret fantasies, I wonder?
And would you give me the chance to find out for myself?
Her hand trembling, Annie Wilder set down the ecru stationery with the lacy texture on her desk. Romantic stationery for a man to use, she thought. It kind of went with that comment about lacy, see-through garments.
She should be scared. So why wasn’t she?
Some man whom she might or might not know had sent her this anonymous letter and her imagination was sparked. She was curious about the sender. A little turned on. Definitely not afraid.
That scared her more than the letter itself.
She should have her head examined.
To distract herself, Annie ventured back out to the shop, a deep rose cave whose corners were draped with gold shot cream swaths that cascaded from rings on the ceiling. Midnight blue and vanilla cream satin sheets filled the shelves on one short wall, bottles and pots of potions and creams the other. Passing the rack of teddies, Annie let her hand brush the jewel-tone bits of silk and satin and lace as she made her way back to the display she’d been setting up before she’d decided to check the day’s mail.
Concentrating on her undertaking, she arranged two dozen packets of condoms according to color and turned the simple display into a sensual rainbow, traversing a pair of iridescent, flesh-colored panties.Annie stepped back and snickered at her fanciful handiwork.
Who in the world, looking at a small woman wearing a long black pullover and leggings, her brown hair braided, her face sans embellishment but for a pair of frameless glasses, would ever imagine that she was capable of sexual whimsy?
“An Admirer” would. She thought again of the anonymously sent missive in her office.
At least one man had obviously looked beneath the surface to find the real owner of Annie’s Attic, lingerie playground, the most talked about, written about and picketed business in the neighborhood.
The lingerie itself didn’t have people buzzing, but the way she displayed her wares to inspire fantasies. After all, wasn’t that the point of wearing expensive pieces of fragile fabric that would rip at a rough touch?
For a moment the thought caught her, an image rolling through her head like a movie.
She strolled along the beach in see-through undies, the envy of the women lounging around her, the object of lust of the men. The cast of thousands faded out, leaving only one man, faceless, but with thick dark hair and a body by Adonis. He moved behind her, cupped her breasts and with his thumbs only, tugged lightly at the straps of her bra. The fabric shredded instantly, freeing her flesh.
She arched back...