By Bebe Balocca (Guest Blogger)
My latest release is a paranormal romance called The Curse of the Tiger. It features an evil witch, shape shifting, a tiger refuge in Colorado, and plenty of hot erotic scenes, naturally. The inspiration behind the book, though, started south of the border.
We’ve vacationed several times in Playa del Carmen, south of Cancun. It’s a fun tourist town with fabulous shops and restaurants, and of course those gorgeous Caribbean beaches. Cruise ships pop in and deposit visitors, too, so the locals all vie for those tourist bucks.
It’s pretty common to see a dude with a huge iguana, offering to let people pose with the lizard for a little cash. The great big reptiles are a little off-putting, but they’re also all over the place in Mexico. We saw them sunning on ruins and slipping through the shrubbery.
Less commonly, vendors would have other, more exotic photo ops: baby monkeys, jaguars, and tigers. There would be a poster offering an explanation, something to the tune of “Poor little orphan, found and lovingly tended by this caring individual.” Except that’s rarely, if ever, the case. Many people believe the young, non-orphan animals are captured in the wild to be displayed while they’re manageable and cute. When they get too big to be useful, they’re killed or kept in cages as status symbols for the rest of their lives. It’s not a happy situation for the animals, any way you cut it.
Here’s an article about the controversy http://www.buyplaya.com/blogs/rob_kinnon/archive/2013/04/12/news-in-the-fight-to-keep-exotics-off-of-5th-avenue.aspx and a forum discussion as well. http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g150812-i23-k5382243-o50-Please_don_t_pay_for_photos_with_the_tigers_jaguars-Playa_del_Carmen_Yucatan_Peninsula.html
As with just about everything, there are two sides to the story. I get that people need to eat, and I do value people more than animals. The practice gets food on tables for people who might not otherwise have it, and yet… I don’t like it. I want it to stop. So, we refrain from interacting with and giving money to the animal handlers when we travel. When the opportunity arises, we encourage others to do the same, in the hopes that people will decide it’s not worth the bother to capture a jaguar cub for tourist snapshots.
In The Curse of the Tiger, a witch runs a roadside exotic animal zoo next to her gas station. She buys some of her animals, but has more unsavory means of procuring exhibits, too. True to her witchy nature, the animals are kept in deplorable conditions. The animal abuse theme in “Curse” is light handed, but it’s definitely there.
And what’s all this got to do with erotic romance, you’re wondering? Most of us can agree that animal cruelty is a bad thing, but it’s certainly not sexy. True, true. It is, however, a topic worth thinking about. I’ve touched on over-development ruining the flavor of a small Kentucky town in Bubbles and Troubles, and my second release, A Ghost on Two Wheels, deals with the crushing pain of grief. Serious topics, sure, but I see plenty of other erotica and erotic romance authors who sometimes get into deep, dark themes in the books and stories. I value lighthearted reads that make me laugh, scare me, and turn me on, but I also savor a book that brings up the serious stuff. The erotica and erotic romance genres have room for everything.
Do you like it when an erotic romance or erotica book brings up serious topics, or is it a total turn-off? I’d love to know in the comments—and I’ll be sending a FREE ebook copy of The Curse of the Tiger to one lucky commenter. Be sure to include your email address so I can find you if you win!
Thanks so much for stopping by, and many thanks to Lisabet for inviting me over.
She knew that being close to tigers was her destiny, but she never thought she'd be riding on top of one…
Faline Hopper owns and runs a free-range tiger refuge in northeastern Colorado. She loves the animals and the mission of Kat’s Crest, but the sanctuary is on the verge of financial disaster. A mysterious stranger with deep pockets comes to its rescue.
Hunter Cartwright is one tall, cool drink of Alabama water. Sparks fly immediately when he shows up at Faline’s door. He’s ravenous for the blond beauty, but there’s something he needs to make Faline understand before he can really sink his teeth into her.
Something that happens at sundown, when the tigers roam the sanctuary and the nightly hunts begin…
The curse of the tiger was cast by a Native American witch. Abetzi rejects the Great Spirit and worships a powerful demon instead. Faline is determined to free Hunter from the witch’s spell and to stop Abetzi from abusing exotic animals, but at what price?
Will Faline risk everything to put a halt to Abetzi’s cruelty—And will it be worth it?
Faline threw the door open when he knocked. Hunter guessed by her wide smile that she’d assumed that one of her workers had returned. “Oh, hi,” she said, her buoyant smile replaced by a slightly abashed expression. “Hunter, right? Come on in.”
He nodded, running his eyes up and down her slim figure. Still in her sweatpants and hot pink tank top, Faline’s body was athletic, toned and lushly curved, and her hair was a tantalising blonde mop of bedheaded perfection. How many days had he gone without being around a beautiful woman? The hag had made his captivity seem like years, but it had been only a matter of weeks. Still, the way the thin ribbed cotton hugged the toned curve of her belly and the tender undersides of her breasts made him want to pounce on her and rip every shred of clothing from her body.
Clearing his throat, Hunter answered with a lopsided grin. “Yes, indeed. I slipped out while you were resting, but I’d like to talk with you about a possible position.” He suppressed a chuckle. I’d like to talk about having you positioned on your stomach with your legs spread wide…
“Oh, yes,” Faline answered. “Honestly, hiring someone new hasn’t been a remote possibility for some time, but it seems our situation has changed a great deal.” Her hazel eyes sparkled. “What sort of position were you considering?”
“Oh, I’m open to just about anything,” Hunter replied. “But I’ve had more than my fair share of dealings with tigers. I feel that I have a unique understanding of them.” The scream of a soaring hawk drew his attention to the window. “Be dark pretty soon,” he noted. “Guess those tigers will be up and about, huh?”
“Mm-hmm,” Faline answered. “They hunt at night.” Hunter felt her gaze on him and knew that she was both intrigued and wary about the stranger in her home.
“I don’t need any money, so you don’t need to worry about that. I’d just like to volunteer my services and let you decide how best to use me.” Hunter let his eyes wander down to her slim, tanned neck. She looked so vulnerable and sweet. He imagined that she’d taste of honey and salt. He wondered if she was even stronger than she looked—would she enjoy grappling with him while they made love? That could be, he thought, incredibly fun. His cock began to swell and stiffen inside the coarse fabric of his blue jeans.
“I will need somewhere to stay, though,” he murmured, and took a step toward her. “Maybe we can work something out between us.”
“Oh, um,” Faline stammered and licked her lips. “We could talk about your options, I suppose. I’d say I probably do have a place for you, now that you mention it, seeing as you’re comfortable with tigers.”
“I don’t know if ‘comfortable’ is the right word.” He took his hand in hers and brought it to his lips. “’Experienced’ is better, I think. I’d say I’m pretty experienced.” He pressed his lips to her knuckles and watched for her reaction. “Would you say that you’re experienced, too, Faline?”
About Bebe Balocca:
I live in a teeny-tiny town in the southeastern United States, surrounded by rolling hills and lots of cows. My house is brimming with my rowdy sons, hot husband, and more pets than I can shake a stick at. When I close my eyes, though, I’m in a white stucco villa on the Mediterranean, sipping red wine and watching the turquoise waves crash at my feet. Next to my hot husband, naturally.
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