Inspired by real life events, Twisted is a fascinating story of vulnerability, courage and the art of making a living in the sex trade…
Back in the 90’s, the corrupt post-Soviet Ukraine with its faltering economy, is thrown into a devastating depression. Times are hard. Opportunities are scarce. Three young and eager sisters – Natalia, Lena and Julia – dream of a better life and weigh their options: do they stay and struggle like their parents, or join scores of their compatriots in the sex trade in glittering western European cities, who earn in a night what they’d take several months to earn at home? Naive and tempted by the allure of ‘quick’ money, the girls set off on an adventure that changes their lives forever…
For sensible, resilient and calculating Lena and Natalia, the transition to the underworld of Luxembourg’s deceptive champagne bars is eye-opening, but smooth. But for fragile, brittle Julia, haunted by a childhood assault, the change is more than just vocational. Struggling to adapt, she turns to alcohol and drugs, exposing herself to increasing danger and depravity; and, ultimately, betrayal, when a deceitful client, who claims to love her, drugs her and cleans her out.
Despite her sisters’ best efforts to intervene, she finds herself in Istanbul – culturally a world apart – in an attempt to make back the money and self-respect she’s lost. Vulnerable without the protection of Luxembourg’s champagne bars, she descends into a hell of drugs and high-risk sex until, at the novel’s terrible climax, a kidnapping, brutal assault and one-sided justice system lead to her imprisonment and a threat of deportation.
How will Natalia and Lena save Julia?
Twisted is available for sale on Amazon in ebook and paperback. It is the first book in the trilogy. The second book Craved will be released soon.
Praise for Twisted:
“A gripping and mature story deftly woven by Lola Smirnova, “Twisted” is the kind of suspense novel that will linger in the mind and imagination long after it is finished and set back upon the shelf… “Twisted” introduces an extraordinarily gifted author to an appreciative readership looking eagerly toward her next literary effort.” – Midwest Book Review
“Charged with some disturbing sexual scenes (including rape), the book manages a steady, readable flow as it shines a light on the multifaceted world of the European sex trade.” – Kirkus
“Smirnova takes us on a philosophical and pseudo-psychological pilgrimage through the sexual underworld as Julia, in first person narrative, describes her struggling introduction into a profession where she can ply the only skills currently marketable.” – 5 star review from Readers’ Favorite
“I highly recommend ‘Twisted’ to open-minded readers who aren’t afraid of a little blood, sweat and semen. It’s sure to shock and surprise you, with both its storyline and its literary value.” – 5 star review from Red City Review
“In the meantime, Smirnova hopes that Twisted will raise awareness to the problems of the sex industry… Kudos to Smirnova for an outstanding job achieving that goal!” – 5 star review from Pacific Book Review
“While the subject matter does not make for a light read, a breezy writing style and Julia’s willingness to fully and shamelessly lift the veil on her controversial lifestyle makes an irresistible combination.”
Excerpt from Twisted by Lola Smirnova:
‘Sag es!’ he screams at me.
The heavy motorcycle helmet is so tightly strapped to my head that I can hear the blood rushing through my ears. The smell of stale sweat reeks from the worn padding inside it. I struggle to swallow. A drop of spit runs down the ball gag that has been shoved into my mouth, then down my chin, and drips onto the couch beneath my knees. My shoulders are screaming from the pull of the handcuffs, which force my hands together behind my back.
He stands in the middle of the small and gloomy room and I can see the outline of his large body. Two bloodshot eyes are firmly fixed on my exposed nipples. A fleshy tongue slides backwards and forwards through the gap in his teeth. He licks the sweat off his lips, moans, and starts rubbing his groin, rocking his wide hips back and forth. He increases the pace, while his moans get louder and louder. Next, he stops abruptly, moving his eyes from my chest to my face, scowls, and takes a few menacing steps towards me. I shrink instinctively, tensing my body …
‘I know him. Don’t be scared Jul. He’s a bit strange, but a harmless motherfucker.’ That is what my sister, Natalia, managed to whisper in my ear half an hour ago, before I followed this freak, with the brain bucket in his hand, upstairs.
Natalia and I were sitting at the bar counter when he walked in. He didn’t even have a drink; just stepped in the door, looked around, stopped his stare at me, and mumbled, ‘I want you. Let’s go.’
‘It’s time to work!’ teased Natalia. Her naughty look followed us all the way up the stairs.
‘Sag es!’ the crack-head screams again, which I think means ‘say it’ in Luxembourgish or German.
He grunts, and with a wild thrust shoves his hips right into my face. He doesn’t even bother to take his jeans off. A quick unzip and he pulls out a flaccid penis, puts one foot up on the couch and starts violently pumping it, so close that his clenched palm is punching the helmet. Lucky for me the visor is shut.
I sigh deeply and try to shift on the couch to get rid of the cramps, which start crawling up my legs and back.
A bit strange? Come on, Natalia! You could call him anything – cracked, insane, alien on Earth – but hardly ‘a bit strange’!
I glance at the half-empty bottle of champagne seductively chilling in the ice bucket. If I’d known what Natalia had meant by ‘a bit strange’, I would have finished it before he handcuffed me and shoved the damn ball into my jaws.
‘Sag es!’ brings me out of my thoughts again.
I peep at his red face … What the hell does this crack-head think he is doing? I wouldn’t even call it masturbation! He tortures his penis in a spasmodic exertion. The awful tongue tossing in his distorted mouth, the dark brown hair stuck to the film of sweat on his broad brow, and the whimpering noises coming out of his fat body make a disgusting spectacle.
According to the instructions he gave me before we started this session, I was supposed to say ‘I love you, I forgive you’ through the gag.
I wonder what my seventh-grade teacher would say if she walked in the door right now? She always believed in me and encouraged: ‘You are going to come out on top, Julia …’ Good shot, Anna Ivanovna. You were pretty close!
He shuts his eyes and wrinkles his forehead in concentration. Frustrated, he drops his limp penis and squats next to the small table in the centre of the room. He pauses only to wipe the trickle of sweat from his forehead. Then he quickly snorts the line of blow on the glass table, and doesn’t get up for a while, staring deadpan at the wall.
Hey, fat boy, get on with it so we can have some together after this. I think I deserve a little pick-me-up for my efforts here.
I wonder what could possibly have happened to turn his grey matter inside out like this. A few hours later, when I kick my ‘labour hour’ around with the girls, they will tell me some rumours about him having had a motorbike accident. Apparently, he was riding ‘under the influence’ with his fiancée in tow. She died there on the street, in his arms, in a puddle of mud. With the last beats of her heart, he stared at her wide-open eyes, full of terror, and at her bleeding lips that breathed in agony: ‘Please, baby, I don’t want to die.’
I shudder. I don’t know if he was injured in the accident, but after this short time we’ve spent together I can assure you that his brain was nowhere to be found after that crash.
Yeah, whatever …
He finally comes back to the couch, pulling and beating his poor half-dead cock in front of my plastic shield. I try to say what he demands – anything to get this over and done with, and me out of here – but ‘I love you’, that forms beautifully in my throat, dissolves into an incoherent mumble as it hits the ball.
His small eyes devour every inch of my naked body, which is truly just skin and bone with boyish nipples where there are supposed to be breasts. The only reason why any man would choose to fuck me (aside from being a paedophile, of course) would be my big blue eyes and long blonde hair.
His whole face is scrunched up in an ugly leer and his bottom lip is quivering as he makes a weird whining noise.
Oh please! Don’t tell me you are going to cry now! Pathetic, sick, even disturbing, but not just ‘a bit strange’, Natalia?!
He keeps on yanking and jerking and thrusting like a maniac – harder and harder. He’s going to pull that thing off if he doesn’t stop!
‘Sag es! Sag es!’ he whines over and over, then forcefully flips the visor up and pulls the bottom of the helmet so close that his soft crotch hits my face. I shut my eyes a second before the first squirt of semen hits them.
‘It’s over’ slips with warmth and ease into my head, then streams down through my body, echoing the semen on my face. My eyes are closed but I can still hear him sobbing, sniffling and mumbling.
I can’t believe this fucker just ruined my make-up!
All I’ve got from this pathetic episode is an experience I will never be able to share with my grandchildren and €60 with no promise of a tip.
About the Author:
Lola Smirnova is an author from Ukraine. She loves twisting a suspenseful tale through the dark lens of realism around the sexual underworld, so clocked in secrecy and shame. Lola’s work is inspired by real-life events and is meant for the open-minded readers who are not afraid of a little blood, sweat and semen.
Her debut novel Twisted was released in 2014. The book placed as Honorable Mention in General Fiction Category of The 2014 London Book Festival’s Annual Competition.
Whether you prefer to slide your finger across a touchscreen or turn a paper page, Lola’s thrilling tales will surely shock and surprise you, with both its storyline and its literary value.
Now living in South Africa, Lola is about to release her second novel – a sequel to Twisted – Craved, which proves just how many fascinating stories she has to share about the ordinary women in the global sex industry.
To learn more, go to LolaSmirnova.com
For further information, to request a review copy of Twisted, or to interview Lola, contact Book Publicity Services at email@example.com.