I have Cara Bristol here today talking about chemistry in relationships and sharing an excerpt from her new Rod and Cane book: Reasonable Doubts. I just bought my copy and can't wait to read it!
Some define chemistry as a “spark.” I think of it as “glue” that bonds two people together until they can get to know each other in a deeper way and discover if true compatibility exists. At least initially, chemistry is a temporary, albeit powerful attractant.
I didn’t marry until I was 33 years old. Between the ages of 18 and 33, I dated a lot, but most ended at the first date because of a lack of chemistry. With only one exception , all dates in which I had chemistry resulted in long term relationships—and one in marriage.
When you meet someone with who you have chemistry, there is physical awareness, of course, but also a rapport, comfort instead of awkwardness, and an ease of communication, all of which build and begin to solidify a relationship. Chemistry is usually instantaneous—although not always.
(When I first saw the man who would become my husband, my exact thoughts were, “that’s the kind of guy I could go for.” And then I talked to him, and the actual attraction to him grew quickly. Our first date was the most comfortable first date I’ve ever been on.)
Chemistry can develop over time. People can begin as platonic friends, but then start “noticing” the other person. But for chemistry to work, i.e. bond two people, it must be mutual. It’s not always.
(I believe there is a chemistry to platonic friendships as well. We have many acquaintances, but far fewer friends. Some people we automatically “click” with and others we don’t. The one’s we click with become our friends while the others remain acquaintances).
Chemistry is so powerful, it can lead people to make bad decisions such as get involved with individuals who are wrong for them, remain in a bad relationships, or cheat on spouses, break up families, and destroy a good marriages. (There are other reasons for infidelity of course, but I think a common one is that chemistry may wane in a marriage, and then a spouse develops chemistry with someone else).
In Reasonable Doubts, widow Liz Davenport thinks she knows what she wants when she starts to date again. She wants a man like her late husband: an older, experienced disciplinarian. But chemistry draws her to Grant Davis. He’s not older. He’s no more experienced than she is, and he’s never spanked a woman in his life. Against her rational judgment, she gets involved with him.
Reasonable Doubts excerpt
“Let’s go.” Grant swatted her ass. A wave of longing rolled through her like thunder traveling across an open plain. She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment and swayed. More. Please more.
But there wouldn’t be more, because Grant wasn’t that way.
Why couldn’t he be a gentleman and a spanker? Was she foolish to start a relationship with a man who could give only half of what she needed? She’d never settled before. But at the idea of walking away from Grant, a little pang shot through her.
But maybe that ache afforded reason enough to call it quits—get out now before she became more attracted, more attached. She needed a man with the confidence to take her in hand and provide what she needed without her having to ask. A head of household who provided stability, structure, and discipline. A mother-may-I guy would not fit the bill.
Grant was a nice man. A good man. They had no commitments, but eventually she would meet someone who could provide everything she needed, and she would move on. It wasn’t right to use him to stave off the loneliness or to scratch an itch. He deserved better.
“Hey…are you okay?” Grant settled a gentle hand on her shoulder, and she realized a long moment had passed since she’d agreed to leave.
Dating did not get easier when you got older. If anything, it got more complicated. She took a deep breath and turned. She didn’t want to disappoint him, to hurt him. She liked him. Enjoyed his company, his conversation, his laugh.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I can’t do this.”
“If you’re not ready, we don’t have to. I understand,” he said.
He didn’t understand. She would not be ready, ever. Not with him. But the words to mark paid to their fledgling relationship refused to leave her lips. Why did he have to be so nice? Attractive. Sexy. Damn him!
“Why don’t we go have some tea and dessert?” he suggested.
“All right,” she agreed, because she couldn’t bring herself to ask him to take her home.
She slipped out of his sports coat and felt an instant loss of warmth. “Thank you.” She returned it, giving back more than his jacket.
“Are you sure? It’s still chilly in here.”
The only thing she was sure about was how confused she was. “I’m good. Thank you.”
Grant shrugged into his jacket, and they exited the gallery. Misery thickened Liz’s throat, but she held her head high as they strolled down the corridor. They avoided the crowded elevator for the empty stairwell. Liz started to descend the steps, but Grant stopped her on the landing. He lightly gripped her upper arms.
“Listen,” he said. “I’m attracted to you, and I want to sleep with you. But it has to be right. You were married a long time, and this is a big step. We’ll take it at your pace. I’m sorry if I came on too strong.”
He brushed his thumb over her face, and Liz realized she was crying. Her face heated with mortification.
“Hey….” He wrapped his arms around her in a hug, and she hid her face against his neck. He chuckled, a sound of such tenderness, Liz cried harder. “Sweetheart?” Grant rocked her. “Tell me why you’re so upset.”
Because she wanted to sleep with him, but she needed him to spank her. Because her emotions were stronger than she’d thought. She craved discipline, but she desired it from him. Grant had wrapped himself around her heart the way his arms fit so snuggly around her shoulders. “B-because…I don’t know. Because I’m crazy.”
“I like crazy women.”
“Nobody likes crazy women.”
“I like you.”
“Then you’re crazy.”
“See? We’re perfect for each other.”
She smiled through her tears. A measure of heartache receded, but confusion still reigned. “I’m a basket case.”
“I like baskets.”
Laughter snorted out her nose. She thumped his chest with her fist. “You’re too nice to me.” You don’t make it easy.
Or maybe she complicated the situation. She and Grant had connected. Perhaps she should get out of her own way and let nature run its course. Stop analyzing and go with the flow. Counselor, counsel thyself. Many friends had sought her advice, used her as a sounding board to work through relationship woes. She could read people and had an instinct for who would be good together. How many couples had she matched up over the years? Dozens, probably. But her life was a mess. A turmoil of conflicted emotion.
Fix me a spanking, won’t you, darling?
Some people drank to calm their nerves. Others exercised or meditated. She’d been spanked. So many times, after a grueling day at work, Otis had taken one glance at her and taken her in hand.
Spank me, Grant.
“Can I reconsider?” she asked.
“Reconsider?” he raised his eyebrows.
“I’d like to sleep with you. Tonight,” she said.
“You don’t have to do that. I can wait,” he said, but a lopsided, hopeful smile slid across his face.
She shook her head. “I don’t want to wait.”
As if he feared she might change her mind again, he hustled her down the stairs.
Reasonable Doubts Blurb
Widow Liz Davenport assumes when she begins to date, her new man will be like her late husband--a member of the Rod and Cane Society and an experienced disciplinarian who can provide her with loving guidance she requires to feel grounded and secure. So why is she attracted to Grant Davis, an ex-Naval JAG officer who works for her nemesis and has never spanked a woman in his life?
Events in his recent past have forced Grant to take stock of his life and try some new things. But spank a woman? He’s never considered that before, but with Liz’s coaching he’s willing to try.
But when the past collides with the present, will he be able to step up and become the disciplinarian Liz needs?
How would you like to become card-carrying member of the Rod and Cane Society? To receive a membership card, leave a comment for Cara about Reasonable Doubts or this blog AND your email address in the body of your comment. Cara will contact you to arrange to send you a membership card. This is not a drawing. Everyone who posts a comment with an email address can receive a card—as long as supplies last. In addition, by commenting on this blog and leaving an email address, you’ll be entered into a drawing for Rod and Cane coffee mug.