Alyson Publications, April 2002
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She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not is a collection of Lesléa Newman’s fiction at its finest. In “A Stone’s Throw,” two butch buddies become more than buddies, though neither of them will admit it. In “Mothers of Invention,” a couple in which one woman wants a child and the other doesn’t learn the true meaning of commitment and compromise.
In “Private Lessons,” an older college student who has never been with a woman before lets herself be seduced by her female English professor. And a straight woman- at least she thinks she’s straight- discovers a shocking fact about her “boyfriend” in “Girls Will be Boys.” She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not explores love, gender, sexual attraction, bodies and boundaries with humor, insight and heart.
“What a terrific collection of short stories by one of our community’s most prolific and steady writers.”
“She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not is magnificent… Newman’s stories are healing; they stir up sighs, inspire passion, and are convincing enough to make even the most hardened cynic believe in the transformational power of read love. Grade: A+”
You are lying on your back, in bed, your hands behind your head, your lover moving over you softly like a warm summer breeze. She plants little kisses along your jaw, under your chin, in the carved out hollow where your shoulder meets your neck. You sigh, shift, watch her out of half-closed eyes, think, not for the first time, how lucky you are. Your lover moves to your breasts with her hands and her mouth. Your nipples stand at attention, eager for her to begin. You have been together long enough for her to know just how to please you, but not so long that the thrill has disappeared. Your lover knows every inch of your body, every hair, every wrinkle, every pore. You sigh again, your whole being reduced to a helpless puddle of pleasure. You could do this forever and you know she could, too. So when your lover stops what she is doing, you think she is teasing, and play along. “Don’t. Stop. Don’t. Stop. Don’t stop.” But your lover has stopped. She studies you, her forehead furrowed in three crooked horizontal lines. You want to write I love you on those three little lines, and lift a finger to start tracing the letters, but then your lover speaks, and you stop before you begin. “What’s this?” she asks, her voice not curious, but concerned. You are not worried. What can it be, a beauty mark, a pimple, a mole? Your lover takes your hand and moves it to the outside of your right breast, which has fallen back into your armpit as it always does when you’re lying on your back. “Feel that?” she asks. You shake your head, and she presses your hand harder until you can no longer deny what she has found: a lump. A lump that presses against the flesh of your fingers like a small irritating pebble in the bottom of your shoe. Talk about killing the moment.
© 2001 Lesléa Newman