Today's the start of our Something New, Something Naughty Blog Hop. You could win one of our grand prizes – a $60 gift certificate from EdenFantasys, or one of two $25 gift certificates from your favorite bookstore. Every comment you leave on a blog hop post between today and the 13th of January counts as an entry toward the grand prizes.
In addition, every single one of the thirty five authors participating is offering a prize to one person who comments on her particular post. In fact, if you visit all the authors, you're almost guaranteed to win something. You find links to all participants blogs at the end of this post.
For my personal prize, I'm offering your choice of three recent anthologies in ebook form, each of which includes a story by me:
Switch – BDSM, includes my M/F tale Mastering Maya.
Treble – Music themed ménage, includes my M/F/M story Wild About That Thing.
Seeing Stars – Science fiction, includes my award winning M/F/M ménage Bodies of Light.
Just tell me, in your comment, which you'd prefer.
So today I have something quite naughty, and extremely new, to share with you. I just finished (yesterday!) my latest novel, entitled Rajasthani Moon. And I suspect it's quite different from anything you've read before.
Those of you who follow my blogs know that I sometimes rail against genre labels as being too restrictive. Readers come to have specific expectations for a particular genre and they get upset if those are violated. Furthermore, some readers stick to only one or two genres, never bothering to find out what they are missing.
Rajasthani Moon began as a lark. I wanted to see how many different genres I could combine in a single story. I didn't expect the effort to turn into a novel, but the more I wrote, the more ideas I had. I just couldn't fit them into the ten to fifteen thousand words I originally thought I'd produce.
What genre is this novel? Steampunk – Bollywood – BDSM – Ménage – Shapeshifter – Rubenesque. I considered adding some M/M interaction but I've found that readers of M/M really get bent out of shape when I mix gay romance with heterosexual romance.
I'm usually superstitious about sharing excerpts from unpublished (or at least uncontracted) work. However, I'm making an exception for purposes of the blog hop. Here's the blurb and an unedited naughty excerpt from Rajasthani Moon. After you read it, leave me a comment telling whether you think I'm crazy or not, writing a book like this. Be honest! I promise to draw the winner at random.
Neither kink nor curse can stop a woman with a mission.
When the remote Indian kingdom of Rajasthan refused to remit its taxes to the Empire, Her Majesty imposed an embargo. Deprived of the energy-rich mineral viridium, essential for modern technology and development, Rajasthan was expected to quickly give in and resume its payments. Yet after three years, the rebellious principality has not knuckled under. Cecily Harrowsmith,secret agent extraordinaire, undertakes a difficult journey to the rugged, arid land of the Rajputs to determine just how it has managed to survive, and if possible to convince the country to return to the Empire's embrace. Instead, she's taken captive by a brigand who turns out to be the ruler's half brother and delivered into the hands of the sexy but sadistic Rajah Amir, who expertly mingles torture and delight in his interrogation of the voluptuous interloper.
Cursed before birth by Amir's jealous mother, the prince/bandit Pratan changes to a ravening wolf on every full moon. Cecily uncovers the counter-spell that can reverse the effects of the former queen's hex and tries to trade that information for her freedom. Drawn to the fierce wolf-man and sympathising with his suffering, she volunteers to serve as the sacrifice required by the ritual – offering her body to the beast. In return, the half-brothers reveal Rajasthan's amazing secret source of energy. Cecily has accomplished her mission. But can she really bear to leave the virile brothers and their colourful land behind and return to constraints of her life in England?
“Kneel up. Let me look at you.”
Cecily tried to keep her gaze averted as she complied, though she was desperately tempted to see if the ruler was as handsome in the flesh as in his portrait.
His chuckle sent a shimmer through her, something like shame but hotter and sweeter. “Very nice indeed. If all of Queen Victoria’s minions were as delectable, we might be more willing to return to her fold.” He laughed again at his own pleasantry. “Guard – the shackles.”
One of the male attendants flanking the throne strode forward, holding two cuffs of embossed leather. A slender, silvery chain about a foot long trailed between them. In a few breaths, the restraints encircled her ankles, leaving her hobbled.
“Well, Miss Cecily Harrowsmith – look at me, woman, don’t stare at your hands like some servant girl – what have you to say for yourself? Are you ready to confess? Do you admit you’ve infiltrated our realm to spy out our secrets and force us back under the thumb of your ambitious Queen?”
The Rajah leaned forward in his chair, no more than a half-dozen feet from her. A welcoming smile lit his clean-shaven face, but his eyes were black as coal and sharp as obsidian. Jet curls adorned his forehead, peeking out from under his turban of gold brocade, and jewel-studded ornaments stretched his earlobes. His sensitive mouth and smooth cheeks made him seem somehow softer than his brother - younger, fresher, less jaded. However, the intelligence she read in his gaze quickly dispelled any notion that she was dealing with a callow youth.
Cecily struggled to muster her thoughts in the face of such outrageous male beauty.
“Sir – ah – Your Highness – I must beg your pardon and ask for your indulgence. It’s true that I came to Rajasthan to discover how your country has managed since your ill-advised refusal to share your revenues with the Crown. Her Majesty was concerned that without a steady supply of viridium, your people might well be suffering.”
Amir burst into a merry laugh. “The Queen is concerned about us poor Rajasthanis, is she? Well, as you can see, we are not suffering in the least. You can report back that her concern is misplaced. Better she should be concerned for your well-being, my lady spy.”
Cecily remained silent, suspecting that the clever Rajah would twist her words regardless of her excuses.
Amir rose from his throne to loom over her kneeling figure.
“You may know that Rajasthanis are renowned for their ferocity. The usual punishment for espionage or treason involves a distinctly unpleasant combination of branding, disembowelling and then being left out in the desert to die.” He cupped her chin and raised her eyes to his. “It would be a pity to subject such a lovely creature to that sort of - indignity – but still, there’s no question that you deserve it, is there?”
His smile grew broader but his eyes remained hard.
She swallowed her rising terror, striving for a rational, conciliatory tone. “Please, Your Highness – I’m not a spy, merely the Empire’s envoy. The Queen sent me to reopen diplomatic relations. She would like to re-establish contacts with Rajasthan, a connection between equals...”
“Really? If you’re on an official diplomatic mission, why were you travelling in disguise?”
“As you note, Sir, your countrymen are known for their violence and lawlessness. A woman openly journeying as Her Majesty’s representative would be especially vulnerable to attack by brigands and highwaymen...” Cecily stopped short, overwhelmed by memories of her time with Pratan. Her nipples knotted under the thin silk of her bodice and moisture painted her thighs. Once again embarrassment heated her face. She tried to tear her eyes from the Rajah’s but he would not allow it.
He shook his head. “I really don’t know what I should do with you.” He flipped the gauzy train of her sari off her shoulder, exposing the swollen nubs that strained the fabric of her top. “Though I imagine I’ll think of something.”
For an instant she expected him to reach for her brazenly erect nips, to pinch or twist them. She knew he’d be cruel. A shudder of anticipation raced through her. She sucked in her breath, expecting – no, craving – the debasement.
He didn’t touch her. Instead, he favoured her with an ironic grin and settled back into his chair. “Sit here, then.” He indicated a nest of pillows piled to one side of the throne. “For now, I shall pretend that you’re telling the truth, Cecily, and treat you as the honoured representative of a foreign monarch.”
“Thank you, Your Highness.” Cecily released the air she’d been holding in her lungs. A bit awkward, she crawled past Amir’s feet to curl up among the cushions, her legs tucked under her. The silver chain tangled in her sari. As she tried to remedy this, she gave it a quick tug to test its strength. The delicacy of the chain was misleading. It seemed as unyielding as the robotic bonds Pratan had employed.
“The festival will begin as soon as the crescent moon rises above the palace walls.” He favoured her with another brilliant smile, his eyes softer now. “It’s quite a spectacle.”
“I’m looking forward to it,” she answered, since he seemed to expect a reply. Leaning a bit closer, close enough that she could feel the heat emanating from his silk-clad form, she lowered her voice and loaded it with honey. “But Sir – is it really necessary that I be shackled like some common criminal?” After all the effort I made to get to Rajasthan, to obtain an audience with Your Highness, do you really think it’s likely I would flee?”
“I don’t plan to give you the opportunity, my lovely. In any case, I like seeing you in chains. They suit you.” And now he did touch her, flicking a jewelled finger across one of her still-taut nipples.
A blade of pleasure sliced through her. She couldn’t control her gasp.
“You’ll find that’s one of the many things my brother and I have in common – a fondness for rendering beautiful women helpless.”
As if conjured by the Rajah’s words, a door swung open behind the thrones – Cecily could see now that although the canopy was temporary, the tiered viewing platform was built into the wall – and Pratan stepped onto the platform.
“Amir! I see that you’ve already made Miss Harrowsmith’s acquaintance, Your Highness.” Apparently heedless of royal protocol, the bandit prince bestowed an enthusiastic hug on his brother. “Be careful. She’s a caged tiger. Good evening, Cecily...”
Pratan crouched in front of Cecily and without the slightest warning, fondled her breasts.
“I – you - release me this instant, you...” Cecily sputtered, fighting the arousal that flooded her. “How dare you?” she added when he didn’t obey, only too aware of the contradictions between her words and her reactions. She gripped his arms, trying to tear his hands from her hungry flesh and noticing despite herself the way his biceps flexed under his satin tunic. He simply ignored her, crushing her aching nipples in his palms. One hand traced the line of her hips then wandered across her belly, finally coming to rest near the juncture of her thighs. All the while, he held her eyes – challenging her to deny her irrepressible lust.
Amir could scarcely contain his laughter. “Ah, brother, clearly you know our guest far more intimately than I do. But I plan to remedy that soon.”
Pratan cupped Cecily’s pubis for a moment longer. He teased a finger back and forth along the damp fabric covering her cleft before he rose to seat himself beside his brother. Cecily choked down her cry of frustration. “You’ll find it well worth your while, Amir-ji, but don’t let down your guard.”
Let me know your thoughts. Don't forget to leave your email address as part of your comment, and also to tell which anthology you would prefer.