Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Business of Revenge

By Elizabeth Andrews (Guest Blogger)

As some of you may have guessed from that title, I am a big Princess Bride fan. Okay, that may be an understatement. I saw the movie in the theater when it was originally released eons ago, and I cannot even begin to guess how many times I have seen it in the years since. So many times that my children refuse to watch it with me, because they hate when I recite lines with the characters. (Of course, my children feel the same way when I recite lines with Harry Potter and his friends, or when I'm watching any LOTR films, or Dirty Dancing... Now that I think about it, my sons may have a point and I might have a problem.)

Anyway, one of the best parts of the movie, aside from the romance and the humor, is Inigo Montoya and his quest to avenge his father's death. He's been on this mission nearly all of his life, and he hasn't thought past his search for the six-fingered man. I suppose, having been on that hunt for so long, he may have given up hope of succeeding, which would account for not thinking about what he might do after he's killed the six-fingered man. After all, he's failed for so long, success must seem unattainable. Then, when he finally reaches his goal, well, what's next? He's survived and now he has an unplanned future staring him in the face. Now what?

While I was thinking about Inigo, I realized he isn't the only character I enjoy who's got revenge on his mind. Westley gets his own revenge on Prince Humperdinck for killing him and trying to marry Buttercup, though his is less final, more 'haha, I won, you lost'. I just sat through Wyatt Earp again last week, and there's all sorts of vengeance-seeking in that one, old West-style, on both sides. A really terrific revenge story arc takes place over the course of the most recent Batman movie trilogy, with events in the first movie setting the stage for the daughter of Ra's Al Ghul to get some payback on Bruce Wayne in the third installment for killing her father.

Another of my favorites is Troy, though Agammemnon shamelessly uses his brother Menelaus's quest for revenge on Paris for the theft of his wife as a really good excuse to take over another country. But Achilles does seek and get revenge on Hector for his accidental killing of Achilles's cousin. I must admit, though, that all the revenge is not my favorite part of this movie--it's the Greek mythology (okay, and Sean Bean, if I'm being totally honest; that man is mine! Mine, I tell you! Ahem.) If you're a fan of Greek myths, as I am, there are plenty of great stories there filled with quests for revenge, not to mention romance! The gods and goddesses aren't above getting their own vengeance either, taking many opportunities to show one another up or smack down a fellow deity for a slight. Aphrodite's unlovely husband Hephaestus gets a little revenge on his unfaithful wife when she strays with Ares. Even Zeus's wife Hera seeks revenge more than once on the objects of her husband's affections, or on the offspring his extra-marital affairs produce. Poor Hercules. She really puts that guy through the wringer before grudgingly allowing him to take his place on Olympus.

A Greek myth I've always found fascinating has to do with Perseus and Medusa. Medusa, depending on the version of her story that you read, has either been extremely foolish and bragged about her hair being more beautiful than Athena's, or been raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple, and then turned into a monster. Either way, I feel bad for her.

Perseus, however, is on a quest to rescue his mother from the clutches of a lech. Perseus hasn't had it easy--his grandfather locked his mother Danae away in a tower after being warned her son would one day kill him. Pretty girl locked in a tower = no son, right? That's what Acrisius thinks, but he's forgotten about Zeus and his proclivity for shapeshifting to get his women. Fast-forward a few months, and Acrisius locks his daughter and infant grandson into a trunk and dumps them in the sea. Except a fisherman rescues them.

Eventually, the king Polydectes sets his sights on Danae, who has no interest in being his queen. The king is persistent, and wily. He pretends he's chosen a new bride and each of his subjects must give him a gift; Perseus must bring him the head of Medusa. Eventually, after a series of adventures and misadventures, he does just that, wielding it to turn Polydectes to stone and get a bit of revenge for his treatment of Perseus and Danae.

In my paranormal romance, Hunting Medusa, I've taken Medusa and Perseus's story and twisted it a little. My hero Kallan Tassos is a descendant of Perseus, and he's still bent on killing Medusa, getting revenge for her escaping his family for millenia and some glory for himself. Only the Medusa isn't the monster he's been taught about all his life. And there go all his plans for revenge.

I want to offer enormous thanks to Lisabet for offering to host me on her blog. This has been so much fun for me, and hopefully for you, too! I would love to hear about some of your favorite stories of revenge, whether movie, book, or mythology. For everyone who tells me about those revenge stories within seven days of this blog post, I'll enter you into a drawing for my ebook!

~ Elizabeth Andrews

Hunting Medusa
The Medusa Trilogy, Book 1

When Kallan Tassos tracks down the current Medusa, he expects to find a monster. Instead he finds a wary, beautiful woman, shielded by a complicated web of spells that foils his plans for a quick kill and retrieval of her protective amulet.

Andrea Rosakis expects the handsome Harvester to go for the kill. Instead, his attempt to take the amulet imprinted on her skin without harming her takes her completely by surprise. And ends with the two of them in a magical bind—together. But Kallan isn’t the only Harvester on Andi’s trail…



Excerpt

It was one of those days when having the Medusa’s fabled power to turn people to stone would really come in handy.

Andrea Rosakis did not, however, have that ability, not this week, anyway. Even though she was the reigning Medusa.

She glared at the man on her back porch, wondering if he could ever understand how lucky he was she wasn’t suffering from PMS this week. And why wouldn’t he stop talking? Her fingers itched to slam the door.

“…if you just have five minutes, ma’am,” he concluded.

She narrowed her gaze on the vacuum beside him. “No, thank you.” And how the hell had he found her all the way out here? No one ever bothered to follow her rough, muddy driveway all the way to the top, even if they did ignore the “No Trespassing” signs posted at the foot of it. Not to mention the protective warding she had set at the boundaries of the entire property. Sure, it wasn’t the heavy artillery of protection spells, but no one else had ever gotten past it. This man however, had not only ignored the signs and the subtle “go away” protections, but managed the entire bumpy, muddy track into the woods and halfway up the mountain. Just to hear her say, “No.”

And he didn’t look discouraged. At all.

Andi almost wished she were PMSing this week, though it would be a real pain in the ass to have to get rid of a life-sized stone statue of a vacuum salesman.

Or maybe she could keep it. He was very pretty, even if he annoyed her. He was tall and broad, his inky black hair was a tad too long, and his bright green eyes held her attention. At least as stone, he’d be silent and still pretty. She gave herself a mental shake. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for this—”

When would be a better time?”

Never.”

He did blink at that, but his smile never disappeared. “I’ll have to check my calendar.”

She snorted, then clapped her free hand over her mouth. Laughing would not discourage the man. “Look, I’m sure it’s a great vacuum, but I don’t need it. I don’t want to see how it works, and I’d like you to get off my property.”

His smile did fade a little bit. “Well, I suppose, if that’s what you really want.”

She quirked an eyebrow, trying not to smile again. He had the faintest hint of an accent, but she couldn’t place it. Not without hearing him talk some more, and she didn’t want to encourage that either, or he’d just keep trying to sell her an expensive vacuum she didn’t need.

Maybe I could talk you into meeting me for coffee sometime then,” he said.

Her jaw dropped. The cute salesman was hitting on her. For half a second, she indulged the fantasy of a date with the hunk. A real date, maybe ending with a real kiss. Her pulse quickened. Then she remembered one good date led to more, and eventually, it led to guys running away from her, gibbering like idiots when PMS struck. She shut her mouth and ignored the regret burning in her middle. “Sorry, but no.”

You’re a hard woman,” he said lightly, his bright gaze sliding down to her mouth. “I’ll leave my card in case you change your mind. About the coffee, that is.” He forced a small card into her hand and picked up his vacuum.

Andi stared after him as he strode off her porch. The bulky vacuum looked like it weighed nothing in his hand, swinging at his side on his way to the shiny, new truck parked behind her car.

When he took one hand from the steering wheel to wave at her, she stopped herself from lifting her hand in response. He turned the truck around and vanished down the drive into the trees. Frowning, she went back inside and shut the door, then locked it and re armed the alarm. He’d tossed the vacuum into the bed of the truck. A very strong salesman.

Who didn’t seem to care the impending rain was going to damage his expensive vacuum.

She turned back to the door and stared out the narrow window beside it, her heart beating faster now with alarm. Maybe he didn’t realize. Or maybe he really hadn’t come here to sell her a vacuum.

She swallowed hard.

Aunt Celosia had always told the cousins stories of the Harvesters, the men who still hunted for the Medusa. Somehow, Andi had always thought they’d be more frightening. More obvious. Ugly men intent on murder.

If this vacuum salesman was a Harvester, he was sneaky. Of course, if he was a Harvester, he would be sneaky, as Perseus had been when he killed the first Medusa.

She was in a lot of trouble.



Hunting Medusa is available now from Samhain Publishing: 



About the Author

Elizabeth Andrews has been a book lover since she was old enough to read.  She read her copies of Little Women and the Little House series so many times, the books fell apart.  As an adult, her book habit continues.  She has a room overflowing with her literary collection right now, and still more spreading into other rooms. Almost as long as she’s been reading great stories, she’s been attempting to write her own.  Thanks to a fifth grade teacher who started the class on creative writing, Elizabeth went from writing creative sentences to short stories and eventually full-length novels.  Her father saved her poor, callused fingers from permanent damage when he brought home a used typewriter for her.

Elizabeth found her mother’s stash of romance novels as a teenager, and-though she loves horror- romance became her very favorite genre, making writing romances a natural progression.  There are more than just a few manuscripts, however, tucked away in a filing cabinet that will never see the light of day.

Along with her enormous book stash, Elizabeth lives with her husband of twenty years and two teenage sons, though no one else in the house reads nearly as much as she does.  When she’s not at work or buried in books or writing, there is a garden outside full of herbs, flowers and vegetables that requires occasional attention.


Blog: Elizabeth Andrews Writes http://elizabethandrewswrites.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @elizwrite
















Monday, July 21, 2014

Sneak Peek: Hearts in Ruin by J.C. Conway

[Got a sweet and sexy one for you today, by a very handsome male author of romance. Enjoy! ~ Lisabet]


Blurb

Andrea had one goal in life, a quiet career as a mainstream archaeologist—nothing more nothing less—and she's one ancient secret away. When she is teamed with maverick prodigy Daniel Fuchs at his controversial pre-Clovis dig on tribal land, she soon realizes his wild theories may sidetrack her career. Her smartest move is to expose him and that is exactly what she plans to do. Except…he’s hot, sexy, and there is a chance his theories may be right.

As the dig deepens and outside forces mount, Andrea and Daniel find their careers and their shaky relationship on the brink of ruin. Who can she trust? To survive professionally and emotionally, Andrea must decide between what is expected and what she believes, because time is running out and the developers' bulldozers are poised to level the site.

Delve into the mystery and excitement of an archaeological dig in the New Mexico desert and experience the drive, determination, and passion surrounding the quest to unlock the Paleolithic past in this contemporary, romantic suspense. Hearts In Ruin…no shovel required to join this adventure to discover an ancient truth!

Five-Star Review by Romance Junkies:

"My favorite part: wait until you get to their first kiss. Never in the history of romance novels has there been a kiss like it. The second kiss leads to even better things."

And now an excerpt including that raved-about first kiss....


Later in the evening, Daniel slipped out to the patio for a reprieve—just a few moments of peace. The wide balcony overlooked the east side of campus with the lights of town beyond, backed by the night shadows of the mesa. He inhaled. Even here, amid streets, buildings, miles of surrounding commercial and residential neighborhoods, the scent of the uncivilized desert predominated. Its stillness soothed him.

“So there you are.”

He turned, startled. Andrea stepped into view, stunning in Pamela’s dress. He’d seen her in it all evening, but not in the moonlight like this.

He struggled for composure. He hadn’t expected anyone to join him here, especially Andrea. She was a hit at the dinner, a fresh young woman, as smart as the stuffy regulars, but piercingly direct and good humored.

“Is everything all right?” he asked.

“Sure.” She stepped toward him. “Except my date ditched me.”

“I didn’t think you needed me in there.”

Her eyes glinted. “So, you tired of the crowd?”

He laughed. She could not have nailed it much better. “Let’s just say I’ve already been to enough meetings, dinners, and functions of all kinds with this group to fill a lifetime.”

She stood next to him now at the railing and stared across the campus. “It’s a pretty school.”

He shrugged. “It has its charms.”

A subtle hint of perfume mingled seamlessly with the desert breeze. Amazing. Most of the women inside seemed anxious to disguise or completely cover up the smell and feel of the dry desert environment. But Andrea, who had never lived in the climate or even visited the desert before, chose a fragrance that accepted it and even complimented its arid beauty.

“Not all fake Ivy-League like the U,” she explained.

He smiled. “No. And if you have a thing for adobe and stucco then you can really learn to love it.”

She turned, leaning back against the railing. “The people seem nice,” she ventured. “I don’t really know why you left. Just because they didn’t support the dig? It seems you could’ve worked it out with these folks.”

Daniel could not tear his gaze from her profile and the bare shoulders just touched by soft and inviting golden-brown hair. But he was held by more than that. All of her qualities were admirable. Not only was she fascinatingly attractive, and perhaps even in spite of it, she was brilliant and clear minded, and she loved her work.

“They um…” Daniel’s throat thickened, as if he were trying to talk underwater. There was something about her—something between them that transcended this project, he knew. He’d been avoiding it. He wanted no complications during the dig. But that was only part of the problem. The fact was, he didn’t want to draw her too far into his private quest. He couldn’t do that to her. Not now, not at this critical juncture with her career poised to launch. It was bad enough that she was the project leader, and he hoped she didn’t have to explain that away the rest of her life after he finally published his findings. But why then, if he felt that way, did he recruit her? She was clearly in the running for a post at a good school. This project, once the controversy surfaced, was not a good stepping stone on that path. Did he really think if he kept her role limited that it could minimize the fallout to her career?

It had been different for him. He didn’t work so hard for his opportunities. He had been young when he reached that point. Just eighteen, still a kid. He met Madeline and willingly abandoned most of the career courses Andrea should follow. He was committed to his project. He never saw it as a choice. But how could he lead Andrea down the same path—especially after she worked so hard for so many years to gain a solid foothold in academia?

Andrea’s brow furrowed with contemplation and she turned to him. “I think you should have just stuck to your guns here. They like you more than you know.”

He drew a breath. “Not all of them.”

She lowered her chin. “You’re about as likeable as they get.”

He smiled, and without thinking, touched her hand. She didn’t retreat. The air warmed with electricity. A remnant of his rational mind searched for a response to her statement—a quip, a compliment, a rebuttal…anything. But the futile effort was overshadowed by the sharpening of his senses, an awakening triggered by her presence and warm touch.

“I uh…”

She turned to face him squarely. He touched her arm, feeling the impossible softness of her skin. Her hand touched his stomach and slide to his waist. Her expression shifted. Her eyes surveyed his face. Was she searching for resistance or its opposite? He didn’t know. He wasn’t sure he cared. But he could tell that this closeness was something they’d both thought about before.

The moment grew, nearly eclipsing all else. He knew in his mind and heart that if he didn’t embrace her now, the moment could vanish forever. His heart pounded. He did not weigh options. This was not a matter of choice. It was roaring compulsion. He leaned close. He felt the heat of Andrea’s cheek, her warm breath. Their lips brushed across each other. Daniel savored the soft pass once, twice, then opening slightly more and connecting, pressing, tasting and melding. His chest filled with fire. The world fell away. He reached around her, pulling her close. She nestled in, leaving no gap.

He felt no barrier between them. His lips touched her nose, her cheek, the crook of her neck. He returned to her lips and they tasted each other again. Andrea mewed. It felt right to be lost in her touch and her breath. Their chests heaved together. Their embrace softened. Daniel roamed the curve of her spine. She responded with equal, soft passion. He felt the release of a long, satisfied sigh.

They touched foreheads.

He smiled. She giggled lightly.

A rough, “Ahem,” broke the moment like shattered crystal. They weren’t alone.

Eyes widened, they released their holds and turned.

“I don’t mean to disturb you.”

Daniel regained his bearing. William Lassiter and Morgan Hamilton stood near the patio door holding cocktail tumblers.

HEARTS IN RUIN is available at:
About the Author

J. C. Conway is a romance, science fiction and fantasy author, writing novels and short stories for adults, young adults and teens. Hearts in Ruin is his debut novel. He is a grand prize winner of the Yosemite Romance Writers Smooch contest. He will have short stories published this summer by The Colored Lens and Comets & Criminals. His writing passion began with a grade-school assignment to write anything he liked, which, at the time, included dinosaurs, robots, army heroes and alien invaders. Since then he's added deep simmering passion, tense internal conflict and emotional dilemmas. To learn more, visit his website at http://jcconway.com, his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/J.C.Conway.Writer, or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jcconwaywriter. Also feel free to visit http://HeartsInRuin.com, the website dedicated to his debut novel.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Snog #133: Detente

It's very late for me to be posting a snog, but still Sunday in the U.S. ;^) I was busy all day Sunday editing the new Coming Together Presents volume, a sensational collection of hot, transgressive erotica by Amanda Earl. As I was working on my bio, I discovered that I've contributed to thirteen altruistic erotica anthologies from Coming Together. And that gave me the notion of sharing this bit from my short story "Detente", published in Coming Together: As One (an anthology of multi-partner erotica) and republished in Coming Together: With A Twist (a BDSM-themed collection).

Enjoy! Oh, and if you haven't already, check out the other kisses on offer today, at Sunday Snog Central.



My overnight bag is still packed from my business trip. I pull out the dirty things and throw in some clean underwear, jeans and jerseys. I'm debating whether to bring a dress when my door opens. Stubbornly, I continue my packing.
Eric towers behind me. He puts his hands on my shoulders and turns me around to face him. "Where are you going, little one?"
"Away. Away from the two of you and your constant bickering."
"He started it, after all, with his claims about things being unfair." He bends to kiss me. I turn my head away, unwilling to be mastered, but he grasps my chin and pulls my mouth to his.
I don't want to surrender, but I can't help it. I'm dizzy with instantly kindled lust. He nips at my lips, probes me with his tongue. He drinks me in, consumes me. Between my thighs everything melts. The room begins to smell funky, as though he already had me naked and open before him.
Without taking his mouth from mine, he grabs my nipple and twists it, hard. My body arches against his, the familiar pain quickly transformed to shimmering pleasure. He breaks the kiss and looks down on me, shaking and helpless with desire.
"You're mine," he whispers. "You'll always be mine. You just keep him around because you're afraid to give yourself completely to me."
I have a vision of David, his wine glass filled to the brim with vodka, filling page after page with angry, aching prose. There's a wrenching pain in my chest. They've grabbed my heart and they are rending it into bloody pieces.
This is pain that has no sweet after-echoes. I tear myself from Eric's grasp.
"You're wrong." My throat tightens into a sob. "I love him. It's different from the way we are, but it's just as real."
"If we were together, by ourselves, you'd forget him."
"NO!" His arrogance, sometimes so exciting, is nothing but frustrating now. "You don't understand. He's a part of me, the same way you are. Well, not the same way, but just as truly."
He reaches for me again. "I'd make you forget him, Margot. I'd beat him out of you." His voice is gentle, contrasting with the violence of his words. Underneath his bravado, I feel his need.
I harden myself, knowing that I have to escape.
"Let me go, Eric."
He steps back, and brushes his shaggy hair out of his eyes. They're brighter than normal, probably with tears. Guilt settles like a stone in my gut, but I ignore it. There's nothing I can do, I have finally realized.
"Where are you going?"
"I don't know. To look for some peace."
"When will you be back?"
I don't answer. I have no idea, in fact. All I know is that right now, I can't cope with their conflicts and animosity. Let them work it out between the two of them. Let them see how they like it when neither one of them can claim me.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Love is Blind

By Sean Michael (Guest Blogger)

I don’t get to choose my characters, they choose me. And they arrive with all their own baggage already packed. Looks, names, foibles, kinks, the whole kit and caboodle is totally not my choice. This works for me – I love getting to know my characters as they tell me their stories.

Trey from Size Matters happens to be blind. It’s always a challenge writing a blind character, but it’s one I’ve taken on before. More times, actually, than I had realized. My first book featuring a blind character was Second Sight where Marc goes blind during the course of the book, but there are plenty more as well: Welcome Home, Love is Blindness, Wallflowers, The Sight of Home, Seeing Love.

Sometimes being blind is a part of what drives the book, sometimes it’s just a part of who the character is and that’s it. In Size Matters, it’s a bit of both. Being blind has affected Trey’s ability to go out and get what he wants in the bedroom, so when Lucien comes along, he seems almost too good to be true. However, the story isn’t about Trey’s blindness. It’s about a writer who is also a size queen. It’s about the man he meets who ticks all his boxes, even the ones he didn’t realize – or hadn’t admitted – he had. And in the end, it’s about love.

Blurb

Trey is a natural submissive, but no one wants to take on a blind man. When Trey and Lucien hit it off, it could be the answer to Trey’s prayers.

When Lucien meets his favorite author at a book signing, he's surprised to discover the man is not only blind, but much younger than he’d expected. He’s even more surprised to discover that Trey shares a passion of his—BDSM.

Trey loves his life as a horror mystery writer, but it is a lonely one. Immediately drawn to Lucien, he’s surprised and intrigued when Lucien ferrets out his interests in certain aspects of BDSM right from the start.

Is Lucien exactly who Trey’s been waiting for, or is it too good to be true?


Excerpt (PG)

Trey? You mean your name isn’t really Guy Wilks?”

Trey could hear the teasing tone in Lucien’s voice and that eased his nerves more than anything else so far.

“Nope. I know, impossible to believe.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Trey. It suits you better than Guy anyway.”

“At least they’re both single syllables, huh? Thanks for coming out to my side of town.”

“I wanted to see you and it was no trouble, honestly.”

Trey didn’t know what to say to that, so he didn’t say anything, he sipped his coffee and grinned. Okay. This was going okay.

“I have to admit, when I came to the signing, I wasn’t expecting someone…”

“Blind?”

Lucien chuckled. “That too. I was going to say sexy.”

“Oh, you’re funny. Thank you, though.”

“Oh, I wasn’t joking.”

There was no way. None. Trey appreciated the compliment anyway.

“Do you mind if I touch you?” Lucien asked.

“I don’t guess so.” Trey didn’t think anyone had ever asked.

Lucien’s hand slid along his cheek. “Silky and smooth, like it looks.”

Trey’s cock jerked, filling almost painfully.

“Your cheek makes me want to know if your other cheeks are as lovely.”

What? Wait. Surely he’d misunderstood. “The other cheek’s the same.”

“I must need to work on my flirting. I imagine I rely too much on my eyes. It makes you a challenge.”

“You’re… Oh, you are something else. You have a blind guy kink?” Because that would suck, just to be some guy’s fetish.

“No, I have a sexy guy kink. I’ve never been with a blind man before. I could let you know if it’s a kink if we get together.” Lucien chuckled, the sound as amazing as the man’s voice was. “I hope I’m not being too pushy—I’m just used to going for what I want and I want you.”

“I don’t know what to say, man. I’m flattered.” And completely unsure about how to deal with this.

“I would love for you to be more than flattered.”

“I don’t… I have to be honest, man. I’ve never dated a man who could see.”

“Why not? And where do you pick up gay men who are blind? Is there a bar for that? I’m only half joking, too.”

“I haven’t met many. And how did you know I was gay? And bars are loud.” Trey never went to any.

“My gaydar is pretty good and you didn’t smack me when I touched you.”

“Oh. That’s probably a sign. We blind gay boys usually just rub.”

“Just rub?” Lucien sounded confused.

“You know, rub in the hope that someone springs wood?”

“Ah.” Lucien chuckled again, the hand on Trey’s cheek dropping along his arm to his thigh. “And are you springing wood?”

“Absolutely not.” God, yes.

Contest!

I’ve got a $10 Totally Bound Gift Certificate for one random commenter. I’ll pull the winner on July 22 in order to give all time zones a chance to participate.

Bio

Often referred to as "Space Cowboy" and "Gangsta of Love" while still striving for the moniker of "Maurice," Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organising his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channelling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to "Chicago".

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.

Barring any of that? He'll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

Sean Michael
Smut fixes everything

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Is Money Sexy?

If you scan the blurbs for recent romance best-sellers, you might come away with the notion that billionaires make the best lovers. Even before FSOG, rich guys were popular fantasy fodder, but the number of obscenely wealthy protagonists has climbed exponentially since. My primary romance publisher, TotallyBound, has a whole series of “billionaire” anthologies – Bound to the Billionaire, Promoted by the Billionaire, Sharing the Billionaire, and so on – and they sell very well. Apparently many readers feel that money is sexy.



I guess I can understand this, at some level. Today's billionaire plays the same role as the fairytale prince of yesteryear. He can fulfill the heroine's (or second hero's) every desire – not just physical desires but material ones. Especially given the worldwide economic downturn, I can see how a hero who could solve your financial problems with a snap of his fingers might be very appealing.



At the same time, I've never personally cared whether a lover (or a hero) was wealthy. The whole question seems irrelevant to me (perhaps because I've always been able to support myself by my own efforts). The trend seems a bit of throwback to an earlier time when women married mostly for financial security. Furthermore, relationships between a rich individual and someone less financially advantaged are not nearly as easy as some romance novels would have you believe. There are likely to be huge gaps in values and expectations that are bound to take their emotional toll.



I grew up in a middle class environment. I'm a third generation bargain-hunter at Filene's Basement. (If you don't know what that is, Google it!) I don't care what brand of watch I wear, as long as it tells the time. I'd consider spending $500 on a pair of shoes just because they had a designer label to be a ludicrous waste of money. On the other hand, my wealthy brother-in-law, although he's no billionaire, cares deeply about things like this. They're part of his self-image. I'm not criticizing him, just highlighting the differences in our perceptions of what is important.



Given the above, you might well ask why I have contributed a story to Totally Bound's most recent billionaire book, Bound to the Billionaire. Okay, I admit I'm hoping to cash in (so to speak!) on the billionaire craze. However, I also wanted to explore the sort of issues I've raised above. What happens when two individuals from different social worlds are drawn together? Can love indeed bridge the gulf in circumstances, expectations and ideology?



You'll find the blurb and an excerpt from my historical “billionaire” tale Challenge to Him below. It's part of the anthology Tied to the Billionaire, which also includes stories by Amy Armstrong, Sam Crescent, Tanith Davenport, Cheryl Dragon and Willa Edwards. It's also available as a single author title.



What do you think? Is money sexy?

Oh, and you might be interested in knowing that I'm working on a new book, entitled The Gazillionaire and the Virgin. It's not what you think! But I'll leave that for another post.



Challenge to Him by Lisabet Sarai


BDSM historical erotic romance


All the wealth in the world can’t buy willing surrender.

Andrew MacIntyre, heir to a vast empire of railroads, mines and mills, is the second or third richest man in America, and by far the most eligible bachelor among the society folk summering in Newport, Rhode Island. His mother has filled their opulent mansion with marriageable daughters of bankers and industrialists, but Andrew knows none of these callow young women can satisfy his perverse sexual needs. No respectable girl would ever consent to being bound and beaten, to serving and obeying him the way he craves. His money gives him the freedom to purchase anything except his heart’s desire—a submissive partner to share his life.


Independent, progressive and well-educated, labour activist Olivia Alcott has dedicated herself to improving the lot of the workers who toil in the factories that have made Andrew and his class so wealthy. The strike she organises triggers a confrontation between her and the handsome billionaire. Although their disparate backgrounds and values make them natural foes, something stronger draws them to one another—an intuitive recognition of complementary fantasies.

Andrew offers Olivia a bargain— better working conditions for the mill staff, in return for a weekend of her unquestioning obedience. Olivia will help him deflect the attentions of the potential mates assembled by his mother, as well as providing more intimate services. Given Olivia’s origins, a more enduring relationship appears impossible—but Andrew is not the sort to give up something he wants.





Excerpt (rated R)



“I can’t do this, Andrew. I’m sorry.”



Andrew and Olivia paused together atop the mezzanine stairway that led down to the Great Hall. Music filtered up, along with the swell and ebb of conversation. Although it was barely nine p.m., Catherine MacIntyre’s ball was already in full swing. Her guests had arrived earlier than they would have under normal circumstances, eager to survey the competition—and to catch a glimpse of the unorthodox house guest Andrew had invited to participate in the closely scripted rituals of the wealthy. Gossip had spread the news far and wide. Functions at Wavecrest were usually well-attended in any case, but no one wanted to miss tonight’s festivities.



“Of course you can.” He tucked her arm under his and pulled her body closer. The French perfume he’d bought surrounded her with an aura of roses, but underneath, he thought he caught a whiff of her feminine musk. “You look exquisite—the gown is perfection—and you’re far cleverer than any other girl attending. You’ll charm everyone.”



He surveyed his companion with smug approval. With its simple, elegant lines, the peacock-blue silk he’d commissioned suited her to a T. The low-cut neckline left her arms bare and exposed a generous but not improper expanse of fair skin. The fabric clung tightly to her breasts and torso, then flared out over her hips and swept to the floor in a sapphire cascade. Unlike some of the fussy fashions he’d seen, the gown had little ornamentation, aside from the ribbons that hung from the waist, draping the skirt in gleaming loops of satin.



Diamond teardrops swung from her earlobes. A matching diamond on an almost invisible chain nestled in the hollow of her throat and a blue-dyed ostrich feather arched over her upswept, mahogany-brown curls.



Yes, the outfit was worth every penny of the small fortune he’d paid for it. Olivia Alcott was a pearl without price.



Olivia shook her head. “They’ll know the instant they set eyes on me. I’ll die of embarrassment.”



“Nonsense. No one can tell whether you’re wearing undergarments. With your figure, you’ve no need of a corset, and it’s warm enough that your nipples are scarcely visible…” He punctuated his assertion with a tweak that made her gasp.



“Don’t!” She jerked away from him. He held her fast.



“Olivia, did you not agree to be my consort this weekend?”



“Yes—yes, sir…”



“And to obey me without question?”



“And have I not done so?” Her eyes sparkled in her flushed face and he knew she was reviewing the same glorious recollections that had him half hard in his tailored tuxedo trousers.



“Yes, yes, you’ve satisfied me in every way, my lovely slut. Tonight, though, I need you more than ever, here by my side. I must make it clear to my mother and to society at large that I am not in the market for a wife.”



“So I’m to play the role of your mistress, then?” The sharpness in her voice surprised him. He brushed his lips across her ripe ones, savouring her sweet breath.



“What do you care what those hypocrites think of you? You’ll never see them again.”



Olivia did not answer. She peered down the stairs, into the brightly lit hall—the lion’s den. “You’re right,” she answered at last, her voice low and resigned. “It doesn’t matter at all. Let us go.”




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sneak Peek: Dark Nights

[Like science fiction? Today I'm offering a sneak peek at Christopher A. Gray's new novel, Dark Nights. This post is part of his blog tour to promote the book. You could win a $50 bookstore gift certificate! ~ Lisabet]




Blurb

The machine believed it knew best how to save humanity... even if doing so meant destroying half the population. 

Astrophysicist Doug Lockwood's unusual discovery during his observation of the sun kicks off a chain of events that nobody could have foreseen. The powerful political and military influences that compete to deal with his discovery set Lockwood on a course which will carry him across worlds, and into the grasp of a formidable new intelligence bent on accomplishing its goal at any cost. With Earth itself at stake and time running out, Lockwood and his team must find a way to counter this unprecedented threat before the powerful new enemy completes its plan. Two civilizations are pitted against each other in a desperate struggle for survival.


Excerpt

Increase buffer bandwidth to maximum,” Nick ordered his assistant, Anders.

I already tried that, it makes no difference!” Anders replied, a trace of panic in his voice.

Nick turned to the astrophysicist that was monitoring the moon’s position.

What will the orbit be if no action is taken?”

The astrophysicist looked at him, incredulous.

I don’t need to tell you what the outcome will be.”

Is there at least a chance it will settle into a stable orbit? The speed is right.”

The angle is off by three degrees! If it isn’t corrected the moon will pass within seventy thousand kilometers of the Earth. That’s less than one-fifth of its normal distance!”

Nick stared blankly at his expert, not wishing to believe what he was being told. The astrophysicist shook his head.

With the increased gravitational and tidal effect, there will be a massive world-wide earthquake, and that’s just the beginning. The orbit will be highly elliptical, and will degrade further. We’ll have bi-weekly earthquakes and tsunamis, much worse than we have ever experienced. There is an 80% chance that within four months the moon will collide with us!”

We’ll all be dead long before the collision,” said Anders, his voice shaking. “We may not even survive when the moon makes its first pass, six days from now.”

Another assistant looked over at Nick.

We’re getting the same report from our observatory in Arizona. They’ve noticed the angle and are asking questions. How do you want me to reply?”

Nick broke out into a cold sweat. He didn’t know what to do.


About Christopher

Christopher A. Gray is a professional freelance writer living in Toronto. He has been a sales agent, project manager, actor, filmmaker, comedy writer and performer, and world traveler.

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July 7: fundinmental and Sherry Fundin
July 7: Our Wolves Den
July 8: Room With Books
July 9: Hope. Dreams. Life... Love
July 9: fuonlyknew ~ Laura's Ramblins and Reviews
July 10: The Reading Addict
July 11: The Cerebral Writer
July 11: Long and Short Reviews
July 14: Blood Moons and Nightscapes and Blood Red Shadow
July 15: Mommasez...
July 15: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
July 16: The blog of C.R. Moss
July 16: Beyond Romance
July 17: Queen of All She Reads
July 18: Erotic Author Nancy Adams
July 18: Linda Nightingale...Wordsmith
July 21: Booklover Sue
July 22: Bunny's Review
July 23: The Crafty Cauldron
July 23: Two Ends of the Pen
July 24: It's Raining Books
July 25: Full Moon Dreaming
July 25: Welcome to My World of Dreams
July 28: Rogue's Angels
July 29: Hywela Lyn 'Romance That's 'Out Of This World'
July 30: The Snarkology
July 30: Tina Donahue Presents
July 31: MichaelSciFan
July 31: Writer Wonderland
August 1: Deal Sharing Aunt