Darker Edge of Desire: Gothic Tales of Romance
Edited by Mitzi Szereto
Foreword by Kate Douglas, author of the Wolf Tales series
Afterword by Rachel Caine, author of the Morganville Vampire series
Love, passion and sex…it’s all here in Darker Edge of Desire. Gothic literature has always possessed a dark attraction ripe with the promise of the forbidden and the sensual. In Darker Edge of Desire, Mitzi Szereto takes the sexualized Gothic and ratchets it up a few notches into the danger zone, opening the door into the darker side of lust and love that only the courageous dare to venture through. Venturing even further into the world of mystery and romance than she did in the critically acclaimed Red Velvet and Absinthe, Szereto creates an atmosphere with a distinct Gothic flavor where we explore our more forbidden desires. In these tales, love and lust (and kink!) know no boundaries, and all nature of beings—from vampires, werewolves, shape shifters, ghosts, succubae—abound. Tread carefully, danger and desire lie ahead!
Mitzi Szereto is an author and anthology editor of multi-genre fiction and nonfiction. Her most recent books include The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray, the epic-fantasy anthology Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire and the quirky crime/cozy mystery Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles). A popular social media personality and frequent interviewee, she’s known for having pioneered erotic writing workshops in the UK and mainland Europe and has lectured in creative writing at several British universities. She divides her time between London, England and various locations in the United States.
From “Moonfall” by Rose de Fer
The young woman blinked in confusion, feeling as though she had just woken from a strange dream. She had only a vague memory of the journey and it took her a moment to register where she was. She struggled at first, but the men were strong and she knew she had no hope of resisting their firm grip.
“Come along, miss,” one of them said, not unkindly. “You’ll be quite safe inside.”
Madeleine Chancery allowed herself to be lifted from the carriage and she puzzled at the strange sensation as her bare feet touched the snowy ground. Where were her shoes? A glance down at herself showed that her dress was in tatters. She caught her reflection in the gleaming shell of the carriage and gave a startled little cry. She looked a fright. Her hair fell in wild blonde tangles about her face, which was smeared with mud.
The tall man descended the steps and Madeleine peered up at him. She knew him, of course. Dr. Charles Thorncroft. James’s brother. Panic leapt in her chest. Had he seen them together? Did he know of their trysts? Worse: had he told her husband?
But instead of accusing her, he extended his hand as though she were alighting at the home of someone hosting a midnight ball. “Welcome, my dear,” he said. “You will be very comfortable here. Of that I can assure you.”
Dazed, she offered her own hand without thinking and he took it, frowning slightly at the sight. It wasn’t just dirty; it was streaked with what looked like dried blood.
She gasped and yanked it back, wrapping her arms around herself. “Why am I here?” she asked at last.
“We’ll talk inside,” said Dr. Thorncroft pleasantly, his deep voice booming in the stillness. “A warm fire. Perhaps a little brandy to take away the chill and calm your nerves?”
Madeleine glanced warily at the men on either side of her. Running away would be utterly pointless and only serve to humiliate her further. She could never hope to escape and even if she did, she would surely freeze to death.
“Very well,” she said, lifting her head proudly and trying to retain some dignity. “You can explain to me why Henry had me abducted in the night and brought to this—this place.”
She followed Dr. Thorncroft inside, taking in her surroundings with wide eyes. Her feet tingled against the mosaic tiles of the elegant entryway as he led her down a long corridor. Gaslight flickered along the oak-paneled walls and from somewhere deep within the building came a scream. She froze, gazing with horror up into the darkness of the curved staircase.
She had a very bad feeling about this place. And most especially this man.
“Nothing for you to concern yourself with,” Dr. Thorncroft said darkly. “Not everyone here is as compliant as I know you will be.”
He met her eyes for a long, uncomfortable moment before taking her arm and guiding her firmly away.
Madeleine was startled at her body’s strange response to him as she allowed herself to be led to the room at the end of the corridor. He was as strikingly handsome as his brother and there was something in his authoritative tone that made her body tingle in spite of her apprehension.
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