From 'Scents & Sexuality' by Doriana Chase. 'Scents & Sexuality' is part of Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. It is reprinted with permission from Cleis Press. This excerpt is sponsored by LELO.

People coming into the bar where I work consider me an expert on a lot of topics, due to my attendance at the local community college. I went there, first of all, because I aspired to get a GED, but certain people, observing my potential, convinced me to enroll.

I’m the first one in my family to a), get a high-school diploma, and b), go to college. I’m a late bloomer to the realization of what higher education can do for a person’s future, so I’m at least a good fifteen years older than the average college student. Not that you can tell by looking at me, or so I’m told. And I don’t mean just by the guys having a few beers in the dim lights at the bar.

I wouldn’t call myself an eavesdropper, but working behind a bar, I can’t help but overhear conversations, such as this lady, name of Lucy, bragging about her new house and her gigantic yard, and how she’s always been wanting some fancy garden, but I can tell she’s clueless about garden design.

This is where I can come in handy, I tell her. It just so happens I’m studying Medieval history and I can plan an authentic Medieval garden. She thinks this sounds really classy, which I knew she would, because I know the type, seeking self-affirmation through the perceived envy of others. She hires me to work as a consultant and invites me to her house the next day.

I didn’t intend to divulge this reality to Lucy, but the true purpose of those gardens was to provide the means to cover up all the smells of daily Medieval life. Throughout historical times, people believed that taking a bath was unhealthy, and a garden would be convenient. A person could pick some herbs and flowers and stick their nose in them when someone who had their last bath a year ago came close.

And besides, their food was half rotten. Imagine this huntsman. He kills a deer, then drags the carcass back to his house under the hot sun. My Lady, he’d say when he finally gets home days later, let’s put a ton of those herbs and spices from our authentic Medieval garden on this before we eat it to help us forget about the funny smell.

Whenever my history professor showed us slides in class, I’d interject because I’m outspoken. We’d be looking at art depicting daily historical life and I’d say, out loud, imagine how that smells.

Personally, I am partial to the natural scent of a man. It’s sexy. But even I will admit that the Medievals took it to extremes with the never bathing and all.

The next afternoon, Lucy and I were strolling around her yard, searching for the perfect spot for her future garden, when her brother Jax, the actual digger of said garden, showed up. Jax was wearing beat-up jeans that hugged his firm rear end just right, and big, construction-worker come-fuck-me boots. He was a couple days past a close shave, and his hair was in that specific state where I couldn’t decide if I wanted to reach up and gently smooth it down, or allow my fingers to idle away through it to muss it up some more.

I could feel words coming out of my mouth in a nervous tension kind of way, and I didn’t know if I was making any sense. Jax had me transfixed with those molten chocolate eyes of his. I was thinking is it hot out here or is it me?, but it wasn’t just me. Just as I was appreciating the perfect, snug fit of his T-shirt, he peeled it off and casually tossed it onto the picnic bench in the backyard. He was hair-free, tanned and toned. I got a wicked provocation to press my cheek against his damp chest, to run my tongue down his warm torso, to undo those jeans.

I was besieged with a sudden involuntary craving for all things Jax.

Eventually, I agreed to make some sketches and a plant list for the garden and send copies to them, then I said ciao, like the Italians do to say goodbye. When I thought no one was looking, I plucked Jax’s T-shirt off the bench and stuffed it into my bag.

As soon as I got into my car, I couldn’t help myself—I yanked the shirt out of my bag, buried my face in it, and inhaled. It had a divine, earthy scent that evoked sunshine and walks through the deep woods—and me being roughly fucked against a tree by Jax.

Suddenly, real life gave me a bit of a jolt when Jax, looking inquisitive, tapped on my car window. I wasn’t sure if it was because he had a garden question, or if he’d witnessed me molesting his T-shirt. I rolled down the car window and told him that I intended on taking his T-shirt home with me, but that it would be nice if he were in it at the time.

Like I said, I’m outspoken.

He blinked a couple of times like he was comprehending, and a few minutes later we were inside my apartment. We didn’t even make it to the bedroom. In no time at all I had him with his sweet, bare ass against the door, his jeans pulled down to those big old boots. I hadn’t bothered to take off any of my own clothes, which ironically made our whole tableau feel more indecent than if we were both completely naked in bed.

I had complete access to that gloriously lovely cock of his, and cradled it in my hands in a worshipful manner. Jax arched his back as much as he could without losing his balance, and pressed his cock to my lips. He made a series of grateful little gasps as I flicked my tongue against the rim, then kissed the head sweetly. I knew he wanted more, but I was going to take my time and make him beg for it. This is another topic in which I pride myself on being an expert.

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