Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: As She's Told

As She's Told
by Anneke Jacob
Pink Flamingo Publications, 2008
(No ISBN on my copy)

I've often observed, both in my stories and in real life, that the most erotic moments derive from complementary fantasies. Exhibitionist and voyeur. Sheik and harem girl. Strict schoolmarm and naughty schoolboy. And of course, Dom and sub. You want to do something. Your partner wants to see/feel/taste/touch you as you do it. Each participant is aware of the other's desires. That awareness sets up an erotic circuit, each person's excitement amplifying the other's arousal.

Anneke Jacob's remarkable novel As She's Told presents an extreme case of this sort of reciprocity. Her heroine, Maia, craves complete submission. She wants to be owned—the life of a slave with no choice at all. She has harbored these desires since childhood, struggling to make her way in the world, pretending to be a "normal" person, but knowing that only this total relinquishment of her will can make her feel whole and safe.

Anders is Maia's complement, a dominant who finds the games and play parties of the BDSM scene silly and frustrating. He wants complete control over a woman—the freedom to do anything at all to his slave, to require any service, to experiment with any sort of pain or bondage that appeals to him. He wants a woman to be his belonging, his chattel,"his own thing". When the story opens, though, he has almost given up hope of ever satisfying his deep-seated desire for total control.

Anders first encounters Maia in a BDSM chat room, where she asks, in response to a discussion about negotiation: "but doesn't that spoil it?" and later adds: "I mean if a sub chooses that means control. contradiction in terms." Anders hardly dares to believe that he might have finally found his counterpart, but when they meet in person at a "munch", mutual understanding and mutual attraction are both immediate.

The early chapters, when Maia and Anders first realize that their dreams may have come true, left me breathless. Despite their lightning attraction, Anders forces them to go slowly. Step by step, he leads Maia into a new world of unquestioning obedience. All does not go smoothly. Although she is desperate to please, Maia is also sloppy, irresponsible and occasionally rebellious. In addition, she is unrelentingly horny, and Anders rarely allows her any release for her sexual tension.

In each chapter, Anders introduces new torments or requires new adjustments. A waist chain is replaced by a tight corset, then labial piercings, then a chastity belt, then a bit and bridle and leather mitts that turn Maia into a dumb animal. In the early stages, he regularly checks with his would-be slave to make sure that she has not changed her mind. By the time they have been together for a year, however, she is truly his, and he stops asking her to describe her feelings or give him feedback.

Anders is a perfectionist, a construction contractor with a passion for detail. As She's Told is almost obsessive in its descriptions of the equipment he designs to decorate, test and torture his slave. The book includes all the familiar trappings from the BDSM canon: the slave suspended and whipped; the slave plugged with dildos and vibrators but not allowed to come; the slave used as furniture; the slave eating out of a dog bowl; the slave harnessed to a cart and forced to trot and gallop. (Ms. Jacobs also dreams up some more unusual and imaginative kinks, but I won't spoil the impact by describing them here.)

We've seen all these notions before, in Carrie's Story, in the Beauty Trilogy, in The Story of O. The difference is that in As She's Told, these are not treated as fantasy. Ms. Jacob is convincingly realistic in her depictions of what Anders does and how Maia feels. At some level, this book is still a fantasy, a thought experiment exploring how an extreme Master/slave relationship might develop, but the tone demands that the reader take the whole process seriously.

In fact, parts of this book are sufficiently extreme that they may be difficult for some readers. I found that I could not read more than a few chapters at a sitting because, despite my long-time fascination with BDSM, they made me uncomfortable.

This is not (despite some horrified reviews on a story of abuse. Anders does not negotiate, but he cares for his slave and makes sure that she will not be seriously injured. When he offers his brother, cousin and several women friends free use of Maia's body, he makes sure that they use condoms, even for oral sex. He is giving Maia what she wants, and she is suitably grateful. Still, I wouldn't want Anders for my Master. He's too interested in stripping away Maia's pretensions of being human. He delights in turning her into an animal or even an inanimate object. Toward the end of the novel, Maia spends eight weeks without the use of her hands, sleeping in a stall, forbidden to speak, and worst of all, banished from her Master's bed. I can scarcely imagine this—it sounds too horrible to be endured (far worse than being forbidden to or unable to come). But then, I'm not Maia. Ms. Jacobs managed to make me believe that Maia could and would endure it, in order to please Anders.

As She's Told is not without its faults. It is a long book without much plot. Each chapter pushes new limits, but there's no climax and very little conflict. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, for Maia to rebel or for someone to be hurt or killed, for some revelation or resolution, but in fact nothing much happens. We're led to believe that this relationship will continue, satisfying both of the participants, as they live out their complementary fantasies together. I think that this is Ms. Jacob's point, to suggest that such a relationship could actually exist and that it could be healthy and mutually fulfilling.

I don't know whether I am completely convinced. People change. Maia is very young (she graduates from college in the course of the book) and Anders not much older. Furthermore, it seems that there must be an objective limit to the escalation Anders practices on Maia. My Master and I have debated the question of escalation, the continued pushing of limits. Clearly there must be some point when you can't push any further without doing serious physical harm. What happens then? Do the participants get bored or jaded? Or is it the case that a truly imaginative dominant will never run out of things to do with his slave?

The very fact that I'm thinking about these issues, though, is a tribute to Ms. Jacob's skill. As She's Told is a rare item, a serious novel about BDSM relationships that does not sacrifice realism for titillation. I found it exciting, disturbing and challenging. I just bought a copy for my Master.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bring on the epic!

By Faith Ashlin (Guest Blogger)

My mum was a huge film fan so, when I was a kid, we would often spend Saturday afternoons curled up on the sofa together, eating homemade jam tarts, watching the old films she loved. I remember one Christmas Eve, when I was about eight or nine, we watched El Cid on TV. It's an epic film set in medieval Spain, staring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. It's a romanticized, over-blown film with huge battle scenes and heroic love. The knights are brave and true, the damsels breathtakingly beautiful and I loved it.

I was hooked: completely and utterly hooked.

It wasn't only that the hero did the right thing, no matter what the cost was to himself, although that idea did grip me. It was the whole scale of the film. Big characters doing big things, for big reasons.

My love of the epic was born.

From there I went on to find others of a similar type. Kirk Douglas and Jean Simmons in Spartacus, the stunningly beautiful Julie Christie with Omar Sharif in Doctor Zhivago. I wanted to be those characters; I wanted someone to love me in the way they were loved. I wanted to be strong and epic and true. I wanted to always be in soft focus, the way Jean Simmons was whenever Spartacus looked at her! I wanted to live in an epic landscape with history happening all around me.

My love of the epic grew and embedded its self deep inside me.

But, of course, I'm ordinary and small and I really like my creature comforts. When I get cold my nose turns red and my eyes water – unlike Julie Christie who just gets even more beautiful. I like central heating and knowing I have somewhere safe to go home to and a future to look forward to, however predictable it may be.

So I began to make up my own stories in which I – at first – and then my characters were all the things I wasn't. I could make everyone behave just as I wanted them to, as thought they were in an epic film. Whenever things were tough at school, or even just boring, I would disappear into my head and make up wonderful stories, full of amazing things and people.

I thought that those sorts of epic films were a thing of the past, that, as the saying goes, they don't make them like that anymore. I grew up and forgot about them. Then I saw Dances With Wolves, Gandhi and Kingdom of Heaven (a tip here: make sure you see the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven because the one they released in the cinema doesn't make sense!) They hadn't stopped making epics. I'd just been going to the wrong films.

Idiotically I'd had to be dragged along to see Gladiator, much against my wishes. It would be stupid, a pastiche of old ideas, and not have the heroic feel or ideas I'd loved so much. I was flabbergasted, blown away and any other cliché you could think of. I fell in love, not with Russell Crow, but with "Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North … Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife."

Oh he was so heroic, so epic, so everything that I'd fallen for as a child. My love for the hero was back stronger than ever. I came out of the cinema with my head full of larger-than-life, valiant and courageous ideas. But those are hard to do when you're trying to remember to put the washing on before you go to bed and you have to go to the supermarket after work the next day.

A few days later I snuck in to see the film again, all by myself.

But not even watching the whole of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (director's cut, of course) or The Last Samurai helped. No, there was no epic in my life and I had no control over people or events. Unless… I wrote down the stories I'd been making up for years.

I've always had a love of writing, and wrote long, impossibly complicated and very badly spelt stories as a kid. Combining that with my love of epic stories was the start of my writing career.

Now, I don't always write epic stories. I love small, intimate stories just as much as ones set on a grander stage. But always, at their heart, I have to have characters I care about (and can control – my passion for that has never changed) and a love that is noble and strong enough to last a lifetime.

Knights and Butterscotch, my new novel, touches on my love of the epic - and the small intimate story as well. At the heart of every epic are people, and it’s the people I love.

A story of modern-day knights, paint-splattered artists and a lightning bolt of attraction that hits hard enough to make a knight think he's going crazy. And then things get complicated.

The year is now, the place is somewhere like here but the feeling is very different. Matti Elkin is a modern-day knight and, while he may not have a horse or a suit of shining armour, he's brave and true, has a sense of duty and honour a mile wide and a passionate belief in his king.

There's a war on and the knights are fighting hard, but while on R & R Matti is hit hard with an overwhelming attraction for Jamie, a tall, handsome painter.

Jamie makes his head spin and his cock harden, and has him acting in ways that make him question his own sanity. But when the war takes an appalling turn, they are both thrown into a world of confusion that has them questioning everything they thought they knew.
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Matti pushed his hair back off his face and blew out a long slow breath. Enough—he’d had enough socialising for now. There was only so much wholesome happiness a man like him could take and he’d had his fill for the time being.

It was pretty damned awesome to see Maxim so happy he glowed as he looked at his bride-to-be. To see her looking back, eyes filled with promise for the future, filled with love and possibility. Matti just hoped—no, prayed—that they could have all they deserved. That events would turn out in the right way for them and that the future…but that was for another time. Now was for the simple love between two people. One that burned bright and would be fulfilled tomorrow at their wedding.

A wedding. It was an interesting thought at a time like this. But right now he’d had enough of small talk and playing nice. After the wedding, and its formal reception, his group would gather to celebrate in their own way. That would be more Matti’s thing, one where he could really relax.

Now he needed cool air and a glass of something very cold because it was damned hot in the banqueting suite. He stepped up to the bar and asked the bartender for water and ice, smiling when it was handed over quickly. Air, and the relief from being polite, were next on his agenda. He pushed his way between the groups of chatting people and made for the glass doors out onto the big balcony overlooking the city.

The noise stopped as soon as he closed the heavy door behind him and the respite was palpable. Space and peace, cool air on his face, they all drew him forward. Then there were the shimmering lights below. All those people living, loving, dying. They called out something to him that he couldn’t understand and wasn’t sure he was ready to hear. Or maybe it was all only in his head.

He was being daft again and there was nothing else for it but to laugh at himself. The world below didn’t need him, wasn’t asking anything of him. It didn’t even know he was there.

He rested both forearms on the ledge of the curved, stone balcony edge and looked down. Max was getting married. That was enough to make anyone smile. The amazing Isobel had finally decided it was time and they were making it formal and permanent. It kind of put everything in perspective.

"Anything interesting going on out there?" a voice asked from the darkness at his side.

"Oh." Matti turned but couldn’t see the man’s face. "I didn’t know there was anyone out here."

"Doesn’t matter. I just thought, as you were studying it so intently, there had to be something going on in the big wide world."

"Nothing as far as I know. I only came out for a bit of peace and to look at the pretty lights."

"Then I should let you have your peace." The man took a step forward and Matti saw him properly for the first time. "I’ll go."

"No," Matti said, louder and with more feeling than he’d expected, intended. "I don’t want you to go." Now that was just a plain stupid thing to say to a complete stranger. "I only… I…" He stopped, knowing how foolish he sounded, feeling his cheeks flare and the skin on his face tighten.

"Are you all right?" the man asked.

Matti took a step away as the stranger came closer, and now they were both in the light.

Tall, was Matti’s first thought. Very tall with wide shoulders and thick hair and the most startled look on his face Matti had seen outside a comic book. No, not startled. Shocked and a little dazed. "I think maybe I should be asking you if you’re okay," he said. He wasn’t quite sure how he managed to get the words out in the right order, his mind was whizzing so fast. Tall and right-looking and something else he had no intention of thinking about.

He might not be thinking about it but his blood was pulsing under his skin—he’d swear he could feel it.

"I…" It was the man’s turn to stammer, but he didn’t take his eyes from Matti’s. "I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. A big truck. One that’s going very fast and landed right on my head."

"Trucks don’t hit you on the head, they smack into you. Falling aeroplanes or meteors hit you on the head."

"And you’d know this because?" The man smiled and Matti wasn’t sure if he was going to be sick for all the wrong reasons.

"’Cause a meteor just smacked me on the head?" Matti couldn’t look away or breathe properly. Yeah, breathing properly—deep and slow—that was a good idea. It might stop him talking stupid crap to a perfect stranger for a start. "That bitch hurt and now I feel like I have my skin on inside out."

"I…" The man put out a hand, not quite touching Matti but looking like he wanted to. "This is…"

"Yeah, it is," Matti agreed, knowing just what he meant.

"Is this weird?" the man asked, his face scrunching up like something was hurting but in a good way.

"Weirdest thing I’ve ever known." There really wasn’t anywhere else Matti wanted to look, anyone else he wanted to look at. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to stop the crazy talk.

The man took a deep breath, holding it as he stared at Matti. Then he gave a curt nod, and held his hand out properly. "Jamie. I’m Jamie or my name’s Jamie or something."

"You think your name’s Jamie?"

"No, pretty sure it’s Jamie. I’m Jamie, who are you?"

"Matti. My name’s Matti and…" He grasped Jamie’s hand and lost the ability to speak. Jamie’s hand sat so perfectly in his, it seemed to mould itself to his palm, skin flushing and fusing and tingling as their hands settled together. And when did he think such crap? He guessed it was better than saying it out loud.

He looked up, his breathing still not working right, and Jamie didn’t look much better than he felt. Jamie’s pupils had dilated to ridiculous proportions, his face was flushed and there was a sheen of sweat across his forehead. He was trying to say something but he didn’t seem to be having any more success at forming a coherent sentence than Matti.

"I…you…" Jamie said, clutching Matti’s hand tighter.

"Yeah," Matti agreed again, nodding furiously, although he knew it made no sense.

For the longest moment they stood like that, at the edge of the balcony, palms pressed tight in what looked like a handshake that had become frozen in time, with the rest of the world forgotten. They were so still they could have been a photograph, a moment captured forever.

Who is Faith?

When Faith was clearing out her attic many years ago, she found a book she’d written as a ten-year-old. On rereading it she realised that it was the love story of two boys. Over the years her fascination with the image of beautiful young men, coiled together as they fell head over heels in love, became a passion for her.

Since that first innocent book—written in purple sparkly pen—she has written many stories, set in varied worlds, but always with two men finding their way to happiness.

Still nothing much has changed because now she can be found in a daydream, wandering around the supermarket, or sitting in a meeting at work still dreaming up stories.


Books by Faith


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: The Marketplace

[I'm traveling at the moment, but I don't want to let my blog languish, so I'm posting some of  my reviews for your delectation. ~ Lisabet]

The Marketplace by Laura Antoniou
Luster Editions, Circlet Press, 2010
Reviewed by Lisabet Sarai

If you had a friend who was interested in BDSM, but who didn't have much experience, what fiction would you advise her to read? What books belong to the BDSM canon? The Story of O, certainly. Maybe A.N. Roquelaure's Beauty trilogy (although if the real author were not Anne Rice, I wonder if those books would get as much attention as they do). Perhaps Molly Weatherfield's Safe Word and definitely a couple of Rachel Kramer Bussel's D/s-themed anthologies such as He's on Top, She's on Top, Yes, Sir or Yes, Ma'am.

One book that would make almost everyone's list, I think, is Laura Antoniou's The Marketplace and its sequels. I've been hearing about these books for years – no, decades – ever since I joined the ranks of BDSM readers and authors. Although I'm a devotee of D/s fiction and to some extent practice, somehow I never got the opportunity to read any of the series. One reason was the fact that despite their acclaim they have received, the books keep going out of print. The Marketplace was originally published by Masquerade Books in 1993. A new edition was released by Mystic Rose Books (also responsible for the wonderful primer Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns) in 2000. Now Circlet Books, renowned for speculative and scifi erotica, has created a new imprint call Luster Editions to bring The Marketplace books back for today's readers. When I was offered the opportunity to review the first volume, I jumped at the chance.

The Marketplace introduces a world where an elite cadre of dominants train, sell and buy willing slaves. The secrets of the Marketplace members are jealously guarded. In the everyday clubs and dungeons, BDSM afficionados trade rumors about the shadowy cabal of slave owners and their human property: the rigors the slaves must undergo, the enormous sums of money exchanged, the contracts, the collars, the decadent resorts, the beauty and the power of the masters and mistresses.

The Marketplace introduces Grendel and Alexandra, traders and trainers of premium slaves. Both are expert dominants. The book is deliberately vague about their relationship. Four would-be slaves apply to undergo the Marketplace training regimen at the hands of Grendel and Alex and their major domo Chris. None is a true amateur. In fact, all four consider themselves to be accomplished submissives. Almost immediately, the dominants strip the four of their illusions and show them how far they are from being Marketplace material.

Brian is a gay bottom who loves to be beaten and “forced” to suck cock. Despite his claims to being submissive, he is manipulative, sarcastic, cynical, rebellious and far too garrulous to be a good slave.

Sharon is used to holding men in thrall as she eagerly offers herself as a sexual object. Like Brian, she believes that being a slave is all about sex.

Robert has been feminized by his former mistress to the point that he has no self-confidence and hates his own penis. Although he is intelligent and well-educated, he becomes helpless and incompetent under pressure.

Finally, shy, virginal Claudia can act the part of the sweet, submissive French maid to absolute perfection, but that is the limits of her repertoire. Her mistress offers her to Alex and Grendel out of frustration and boredom, hoping that they can make her braver and more sensual.

Grendel and Alexandra devise customized lessons and trials for each of the aspirants, seeking to teach them the reality of being a slave in the Marketplace world. Sharon is assigned to muck out the stables and study diction and opera. Brian is made to wear ribbons and bells and deprived of sexual satisfaction. Robert studies martial arts and is forbidden to shave his hated body hair. Shrinking violet Claudia is required to take responsibility for the entire household while the normal housekeeper is on vacation and to severely discipline the other aspirants.

Although many of the stereotypes in BDSM erotica may have started with The Marketplace, the book itself is fresh, original and engrossing. It considers the nature of D/s relationships with rare depth and insight. In the Marketplace world, submission (and in fact, dominance) is about far more than sex. For the first half of the book, few of the lessons imposed on the would-be slaves involve sex at all. They learn to obey without thinking, to take responsibility for their successes and their mistakes, to trust their masters and each other. Over the course of the novel, each one changes, approaching the perfection required of Marketplace slaves – though how that is defined will vary for each one.

I loved this book. For one thing, despite its fantasy premise, it has a realistic, down-to-earth feel. The characters are complex and their interactions nuanced and believable. The Marketplace is the exact opposite of the kinky fairy tale world of the Beauty books – even though they share activities and physical elements.

I also appreciated the recognition of the deep sense in which the slaves' servitude is consensual. The aspirants' most cherished desire is to be accepted as worthy by the Marketplace. The most terrible punishment that can be threatened is for them to be sent away, to be released from the training and set adrift in the shallow world of BDSM “play”.

Finally, I resonate with the view of D/s as something more than just a game, as something that can transform one's soul. To quote one of my favorite passages:

To be thrilled by the touch of leather, aroused by harsh words, or satisfied by the security of rigid bondage is the mark of a lover.

To be thrilled at the opportunity to provide useful service, aroused by a pleased nod, and satisfied by the proverbial job well done, is the mark of a slave.

It may sound severe. Almost anti-erotic. Until you see two people, owner and owned, existing in a complementary relationship where each suits the other like balances on a delicate scale. Until you feel the energy of their rapport, you cannot understand how they fulfill each other, take and give in ways no negotiation could possibly express.

Then you will understand the singular intimacy that drives such people on their search for perfection. It is beyond orgasm. Beyond love. It can almost be called rapture.

If these words speak to you the way they do to me, you must read this book.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Celebrating the Snogging Tradition!

Greetings everyone! It's Sunday again, time for those kisses you all love. But today is not just any Sunday. Today Victoria Blisse is celebrating her 100th Sunday Snog (it's my 94th!) with a bit of a blog hop, and I'm celebrating too!

Every single participating author is giving away a prize. Here at Beyond Romance, you can win a $10 bookstore gift certificate, just by leaving a comment with your email address. Visit Snog Central ( for links to lots more authors with prizes (and kisses) for you to savor.

However, our Hundreth Snog Hop isn't just about lip locks and swag. Kisses are for sharing, and we're trying to do our part. Our chosen charity for this event is one of my favorites, Medecins Sans Frontieres. (In fact, I edited a book entirely to benefit MSF. You might consider picking up a copy...!) So after you've left your comment, why not go over to our page at Just Giving ( and make a donation. Even the smallest amount is welcome.

To encourage you - I will also give $1 to MSF for every comment I receive on this post.

Tell your friends! The hop runs until the 27th of September, and you've got dozens of chances to win.

For my snog today, I've got a snippet from my paranormal erotic romance Rough Weather. It won't be out until 2014, but that's no reason not to enjoy a bit of it now! 
Destiny hides in the tempest’s heart

Ondine has always felt at home in the sea. Orphaned at birth and raised by her grandmother on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, she has never really questioned her extraordinary affinity for the watery world. She concentrates on her work as a marine biologist, spends her weekends relaxing among the waves, and worries about human threats to her beloved ocean environment. Fears of a deadly pregnancy like her mother’s make her cautious about sex.

When she encounters an attractive but arrogant engineer on her private beach, surveying the site for a prospective off-shore wind farm, anger is her first reaction. A casual touch, however, transforms that emotion to incomprehensible, irresistible, terrifying lust.

Ebony-skinned Marut has his own talents – aside from his uncanny ability to swamp Ondine with desire. He can control the winds and summon storms. He informs Ondine that they share a supernatural heritage and claims she is his destined mate. She responds with scepticism and tries to resist the charismatic Haitian, but ultimately her scientist’s training won’t permit her to deny the evidence of her senses – and her heart. As a brutal northeaster batters the island and Marut’s life hangs in the balance, Ondine learns that true power lies in surrender to her elemental nature.

The sun beat down, hotter than ever. Sweat gathered under her arms and at the back of her neck. Ignoring the proffered permit, she planted her fists on her hips and summoned eve ry ounce of authority she could muster.

This beach is private, reserved for Katama residents. What’s your business here?”

Stuffing the permit back into his tight pants, he sank into a crouch to pick up a piece of equipment that he had propped against a rock, next to a two meter steel pole. His thigh muscles flexed against taut denim as he rose. Her mouth felt dry and her pussy, wet. “I’m installing a temporary meteo-hydrographic monitoring station.” The device bristled with lenses, buttons and dials, the pinwheel of an anemometer, the tongue-like extrusion of a rain gauge. “Come on up, take a look.”

Just a minute.” She stepped into her shorts, then pulled her shirt over her head, trying to ignore the sensation of fleece brushing across her naked breasts. In her bare feet, she clambered up over the knobby, rust-coloured stone until she stood beside him. He towered over her. She caught a whiff of sandalwood and coconut oil and was washed by sudden desire.

He pointed to a white plastic rectangle. “This is the hygrometer – the humidity sensor.”

Yes, yes, I understand. You’ve got a laser ceilometer for cloud height, I see, and an infrared camera for thermal imaging...”

What...?” She found his surprise gratifying, as he realised she wasn’t just a naked, blonde beach bunny.

I’m a marine biologist. We use similar devices in my lab at Woods Hole. But Vineyard Airport has a full suite of weather instrumentation. Why are you installing this system here?”

“I’m working on the design for an offshore wind farm.”

Wind mills?” Her indignation returned, blasting through her with hurricane fury. “Those spell death for sea birds!”

“We’re doing research...”

And the awful, endless hum disorients cetaceans. They swim in circles until they starve to death!” She snatched the apparatus and held it above her head, threatening to smash it upon the rocks.

Don’t! Please!” Seizing both her wrists in one massive hand, he pried the delicate gadget from her clutches with the other.

She did not fight him. Because when he touched her, her anger fled as quickly as it had arisen, to be replaced by irresistible, irrational lust. Her pussy was instantly molten. Her clit pulsed between her thighs. Electricity zipped along her limbs. Her modest breasts felt huge and heavy, aching for contact.

The stranger’s eyes grew wide. Sweat beaded his forehead. She dropped her eyes to his crotch. A visible bulk distended the fabric there, evidence that he shared her reactions.

Without releasing her, he placed the weather station upon an outcrop, then dragged her into a rough embrace. Their lips mashed together as they grappled, tearing at one another’s clothing in a desperate quest for bare skin. The rusty taste of blood flooded her mouth – she’d bitten her own lip in her hunger for him. His flavour was spicy with a burnt edge, like an autumn breeze. His brazen tongue mirrored the frantic dance of his hands on her flesh.

She wormed her hands into his trousers so she could grip the smooth, solid curve of his buttocks. The muscles tightened and shifted under her palms as he ground his hardness against her. Her shorts hung loose on her hips. He dragged them down to her knees and plunged his fingers into her drenched cunt, smothering her moan of delight with another fierce kiss. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Give that Hero a Cat. Heroes Love Cats.

By Lucy Woodhull (Guest Blogger)

Hi, I'm Lucy Woodhull and Lisabet invited me to the blog to talk about cats.  Well, about my book The Dimple of Doom.  But I figure cats are a good blog topic, as the Internet is 97% cats on any given day.  The other 3% is porn, of course.

Blurb for The Dimple of Doom:

It may sound like common sense, but never hump an art thief. Turns out, Samantha Lytton’s Common-Sense-O-Meter is super duper broken.

Failed actress Samantha Lytton is getting along just fine in her lonely little life when a charming criminal called Sam or Nate or maybe even Richmond kisses her, square dances most provocatively, opens his not-so-wicked heart, and gets her in trouble with not one, but two international art theft rings as well as the LAPD.

She’s either gonna end up in jail or famous.  Maybe both.

Along the way, she fights for her life and falls for this funny, sexy disaster of a man... and learns that finding happily ever after with yourself is the first step to real contentment. A cute dimple is just the second.

I write romantic comedies, and I've found that a funny book is a great place to secretly subvert gender norms.  While you're laughing at and/or with my heroine Samantha Lytton in The Dimple of Doom, I'm busy trying to change up the status quo because I'm rabble-rousey like that.  Most romances, if they feature animals, give a dog to the dude (dogs are loyal! and manly!) or a cat to the lady (cat ladies die alone lol -- amIrite?)  Everything in our society is relegated to a gender norm -- boys play with trucks and girls play with pink... everything.  They make stupid pens for her.  Boys are taught to be powerful, while girls, to be pretty.  And cats -- well... cats are wussy animals that a real man wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole with a feather on the end.

So what did I do?  I gave my mysterious, uber-cool, religiously single, art thief anti-hero a cat.  And he doesn't just endure the presence of the cat; he cuddles and squeezes and loves on that cat in a way that would make the average person barf:

Excerpt from The Dimple of Doom


Nate hadn’t meowed at me. I followed the plaintive tones of feline dissatisfaction to find a tiny black cat sitting at his feet. Nate scooped the little fluff ball into his arms, stuck his face in the cat’s neck and proceeded to croon a disgusting array of loving goo-goos. The cat seemed unmoved by the display.

I could not say the same for myself.

My normally surly criminal friend didn’t seem to realise he’d turned into a six-year-old. “My dear Captain Taco, this is Samantha.” Don’t think I failed to realise he introduced the cat to me and not the other way around. My ranking in the household was painfully obvious.

Captain Taco licked his nose and yawned, settling back into the crook of Nate’s arm, belly and legs up like a sumptuous pasha. I’d never had a boyfriend squish such unbridled fondness all over me, and this cat looked bored.

Now you might ask:  Why am I so interested in switching up gender norms?  I think romance does this all the time.  Modern romance authors put the heroine first:  her story, her growth, her sexual evolution and enjoyment.  This is such a new concept!  Sad, but true, it's still a controversy -- women taking control of their lives and sexual desires and demanding equality in the relationships they pursue.  So, in my books, I might make that powerful police officer a woman... on purpose.  The doctor.  The attorney.  Heck, the cleverest criminal in The Dimple of Doom is a woman -- a badass middle-aged woman when most older ladies in books, TV, and film are regulated to the kindly grandma role.  My Jane is not kindly.  Her stare will cut you down from fifty feet away.

I recently chatted with some writer buddies and told them that I was making conscious decisions to increase the presence of women in my books, and breaking gender stereotypes.  One of my female writer friends told me that she often defaults to male characters, only making them female when there needed to be a love interest.  Egad!  Women are still only love interests, even when written by women!  This is extremely common -- read some of the facts from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media:

Research Facts
  • Males outnumber females 3 to 1 in family films. In contrast, females comprise just over 50% of the population in the United States. Even more staggering is the fact that this ratio, as seen in family films, is the same as it was in 1946.

  • Females are almost four times as likely as males to be shown in sexy attire. Further, females are nearly twice as likely as males to be shown with a diminutive waistline. Generally unrealistic figures are more likely to be seen on females than males.

  • Females are also underrepresented behind the camera. Across 1,565 content creators, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. This translates to 4.8 males working behind-the-scenes to every one female.

  • From 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics. In these films, 80.5% of all working characters are male and 19.5% are female, which is a contrast to real world statistics, where women comprise 50% of the workforce.

Via TV, movies, and books, people (including women artists) are programmed to default to an antiquated way of thinking.  Let's change that up!  I figure if I'm a writer, then I can create the ideal world as I see it, and dammit, I see women astronauts and hot dudes with "girly" animals like cats.  Challenging the preconceived notions of "man" is important.  My husband and I have a cat, and he loves that little devil to death.  The world often tells men that being macho and uncaring is the way to be a "man," but so many wonderful males of the species experience actual *gasp* feelings like love and respect.  Who'da thunk it?  Erasing gender norms shows respect not only for women (we're actual people!) but for men as well.  If I were a modern man, I'd get pretty tired of being told I'm a hairy thug who's only capable of swilling beer and regurgitating "make me a sandwich" jokes.  "Ladies are excellent at swilling beer, too," said the author with a burp.  And men love their furry widdle cats, dammit.

I highly encourage all of you to notice the ratio of men to women in the media your consume.  Read books that challenge the status quo.  Pay money for movies that feature women and people of color in leading roles.  And, if you're a writer, twist-up those notions of gender and race.  The world will be a more beautiful, and accepting, place for it.

And get a cat.  Cats are freaking awesome.  When they're not barfing on your duvet.

My latest, The Dimple of Doom, is available from:  Total-E-Bound, Amazon,, B&N, Sony.  (For iBook users, buy from T-E-B and choose ePub format.)  

Blurb:  Failed actress Samantha Lytton is getting along just fine in her lonely little life when a charming criminal called Sam or Nate or maybe even Richmond kisses her, square dances most provocatively, opens his not-so-wicked heart, and gets her in trouble with not one, but two international art theft rings as well as the LAPD. She’s either gonna end up in jail or famous. Maybe both.

If you like funny sci-fi, I invite you to try the adventures of Ragnar and Juliet:  Juliet is a bounty hunter with a penchant for pie, himbos, and shopping at Sluts ‘R’ Us. Ragnar is a sweet, hunky alien dude who’s wanted by one seriously assy emperor. She’s totally going to turn him over to King Jerkface… if she can stop falling for him. And his surprisingly-sexy tail. Or maybe she’ll just overthrow the government of a planet in order to rescue hundreds of unwilling concubines. Yeah — definitely the latter., Liquid Silver Books, B&N,, iTunes, Sony.

Thanks for reading! Comment below for a chance to win a copy of The Dimple of Doom!

Lucy Woodhull 

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sneak Peek: The Last Straw

[Today I'm featuring Nia Simone's debut romance novel, The Last Straw. See the end of the post for information about the prizes in this blog tour. Also, the book is free at Amazon this week! ~ Lisabet]


Ally Tobin left New York after one too many bad dates, determined to rebuild a stable life and career as a private investigator in Silicon Valley. But when the man she knew as one name walks into her office with another, will her curiosity once again lead her to risk her heart?

The last thing Special Agent Jared Green needs is "security risk" stamped on the resume of his latest undercover identity. Especially by the woman his job forced him to leave in New York without any explanation. She may threaten his cover, but it's his heart on the line.

He's good at playing a part. She's good at catching a fake. Can they trust enough to give love another chance?


He sauntered through the door, a white, button- down shirt tucked into belted khakis. When his dark gaze found her, he stopped. Stared. Her throat dried and a rustling motion stirred in her abdomen.

“Hi. I’m Darren Ray.”

Keep your cool, she commanded herself, standing and reaching across the desk. His hand was rough.

She yanked her hand back and waved at the chair. “Please, have a seat.” He waited for her to sit before settling in the visitor’s chair. “So, Darren, according to this, you’re being considered for a programmer position in the IT department. Tell me about your background.”

A professional mask settled over his features. “As you can see on my résumé, I have several years of consulting experience.”

“Tell me something about your experience as a mechanic.” Working on his prized old Mustang had been a favorite hobby.

The corner of his mouth twitched. “What do you mean? That’s not in my résumé.”

“You don’t have the hands of a programmer. More of a mechanic.” Oh, his hands.

“Okay, you got me.” He was going to confess. This should be good. “When I’m not programming computers I’m working on my car.”

“And what were you doing in New York City?”

He reached across her desk for a piece of paper, plucked a pen from its stand and scrawled something. When she took the note their fingers brushed. Meet me for dinner at Pico’s at 7. I’ll explain everything. Can’t talk here.
About Nia

Nia Simone grew up on the side of a ski slope in Squaw Valley, USA. Later, while learning the craft of story writing, she worked in nonprofit and then high-tech.

The best part of working in the computer field was meeting her husband. He took up skiing and she helped him document his computer inventions! They live in "Silicon Valley" in California where their favorite thing to do is cook together for friends. Nia’s specialties are dessert and veggies while her husband’s are entrees and sourdough bread.

Their only pet at the moment is the sourdough starter, which lives in the fridge and requires bi-weekly feeding.

Nia blogs every day about travel, food, writing, books, skiing and photography at (where she won the Versatile Blogger Award and Inspiring Blogger Award).​

Twitter: @niasimone4

As part of her blog tour, Nia will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter. Be sure to include your email address in your comment.

Enhance your chances of winning by visiting the other stops on her tour. You'll find them here:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Taking Off

By the time you read this, I'll be in the air, on my way to... well, I won't say to where, for privacy reasons (yes, they are listening!), but I will be away for about three weeks.

I've got some guests lined up for you this week and next. This coming Sunday I'm participating in Victoria Blisse's huge Hundredth Sunday Snog Hop and giving away a bookstore gift certificate. (By the way, my BDSM contest is still going on, too. See for details.) Later in the month, I've posted some reviews from my archive for you to enjoy.

Meanwhile, though, I want to let you know that Challenge to Him is now available at all your favorite online bookstores... except, at the moment, Amazon, which seems to have screwed up my listing. I'm hoping it will be sorted out in the next few days. Meanwhile you can buy the book at

Barnes and Noble
All Romance Ebooks

I should mention that if you care about your authors, you should buy direct from their publishers when possible. We get a bigger piece of the pie. And TEB, at least, can send your books direct to your ereader, whatever the brand - Kindle, Nook, Kobo or iPad.

Anyway, I'll leave you with a brand new excerpt from Challenge To Him, just to whet your appetite.

See you in a few weeks!


Olivia perched on the satin coverlet of the carved canopy bed, surveying the impossibly opulent bedroom where she had been installed. The chamber had to be at least thirty feet square, with a gilt-encrusted ceiling that soared ten feet above her head. Tall windows framed in emerald velvet looked out upon a verdant lawn that stretched to the ocean. Distant sails danced upon slate-blue waves and the breeze wafting through the open casements carried a hint of salt. The late afternoon sun sparkled among the crystal tears of the chandelier, casting shards of rainbow upon the polished oak floor. Nearer the bed, a plush Chinese carpet soothed the residual blisters on her bare feet.

She wore one of the delicate silk camisoles Andrew had selected for her as they’d passed through the town. Nothing else. The other garments he’d chosen hung in the rosewood wardrobe, all but the ball gown, which would be delivered, the dressmaker had promised, by Saturday noon.

Cocktails would be served at seven, Andrew had told her, and dinner at eight. In the meantime, he’d instructed her to await him here, in her current state of undress.

She’d never even considered disobeying.

Fingers entwined upon her lap, she breathed deeply in a struggle to calm her racing heart. Her nipples knotted against the silk, aching for stimulation. Her sex was as moist as the humid summer afternoon, her juices perhaps staining the pale green satin beneath her bare bottom. No matter. Andrew MacIntyre could afford to replace it.

Her entire body hummed with anticipation. He would be here soon, or so he’d promised, and the waiting would be over. She’d wanted this for so very long—long before she’d encountered the masterful young billionaire. They had not spoken openly of what was to come. She hoped she had not misunderstood his intentions. If she had, she’d die of embarrassment—or disappointment.

With her back to the door, she watched the snowy clouds drift and reform into fantastic shapes. Breathe. Relax. Open. She remembered perfectly, despite the years.

The hinges were soundless, but she sensed his presence as soon as he entered, the new aura of power that shimmered in the room. The lock clicked, shielding them from interruption and preventing any possibility of escape. She swallowed hard. The moment of truth had arrived.

He stood before her, silent, and she bowed her head automatically, her eyes on her clasped hands. Still, she knew he was gazing upon her near-nakedness. She felt the weight of his attention like a physical caress.

Olivia.” With one word, spoken low and sure, he claimed her. Heat rushed to her pussy and the bed cover grew damper.

Yes, sir?” It felt easy, natural—as though she’d never stopped.

On your knees, girl.” She slipped to the rug, boneless and loose already, his to command. Did he find her compliance strange? No matter. She had been right about his desires and that was all that mattered.

We’ll start slowly, this first time. Don’t be afraid.”

Afraid? The only thing that scared her was the intensity of her own dark desires.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Life in the Land by Rebecca Cohen

[Got a sneak peek for you today, a M/M paranormal erotic romance entitled Life in the Land, by Rebecca Cohen. Enjoy! ~ Lisabet]


The magic of the Sawyer family’s extremely green thumbs comes straight from the land. But Bobby Sawyer’s expected superpowers don’t become a reality until he kisses his best friend, Mike Flint. That kiss moves the earth—literally.

When Bobby moves to the city, leaving Mike behind, Bobby keeps his green thumb nimble by working in a garden center and uses his superpowers to help fight crime. He’s on a mission when a bomb explodes, leaving him seriously injured, forcing him to return to the family farm—the source of his strength—to recuperate.

While attempting to recover, Bobby realizes Mike is still the love of his life. But Mike is leery: Bobby left him once before. What if all Bobby needs is one more magical kiss?


The distant hum of a tractor’s engine and a few notes of birdsong were the only noises, and once again Bobby’s chest filled with heart-clenching disappointment. His eyes prickled, and he tried to hold back the tears, but he couldn’t. Large, wet tracks raced down his cheeks, and he leaned forward and rested his head and arms on his knees as he sobbed, pent-up disappointment and salty worries splashing into the soil.
Please don’t cry, Bobby.”

Mike’s eyes were large and imploring, and Bobby was so miserable at his lack of progress that he just wanted something to hold on to. He leaned forward and tentatively brushed his lips to Mike’s in the gentlest of kisses. With a soft sigh, Mike kissed back in the same chaste way.

There was a tremor beneath him, a mild shake that made his whole body vibrate. They sprang apart, both staring wide-eyed at the dirt as they tried to work out what could be causing the disturbance.

Bobby’s jaw dropped. Before his eyes two of the large roots pulled themselves free of the ground, clods of soil falling from the delicate rootlets as they reached out to him.
With an undignified yelp, Bobby fell backward and scrambled away, but a soft rumble from the oak made him stop. It was reassurance, a call for calm, and he knew then everything was okay.

Get your copy today! 

About Rebecca

Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and baby son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


By B.C. Brown (Guest Blogger)

I'm here to tell you a bit about my book. Because weird is good...

Quixotic: Not Everyday Love Stories - One Box, Two Suitcases by BC Brown 
quix-ot-ic: Adjective: Exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical: "a vast and quixotic project"

One box and two suitcases.

Everything that meant anything to her - her whole life - was now in one box and two suitcases in the backseat of her faded blue Buick Skylark.

The area around her car was devoid of human life save for the winding black highway that stretched itself in either direction - the highway whose shoulder she was now pulled over on.

Her blinkers kept perfect time with the rhythm of her heart.

One box and two suitcases.

Her life had been reduced to such meager evidence of the last twenty-two years.  They were pitiful proof of her existence.  But the thick sheaf of papers on the dingy front seat beside her was resounding proof of her existence.  Proof she was a failure - a failure at her life. The only life she’d known for the last twenty-two years.

Her eyes flicked to the rear-view mirror, landing on the one box and two suitcases again.  Her world - completely dismantled - was so neatly gathered inside those containers.  Her vision swam with moisture.

She had promised herself she was finished crying.  Then the papers had shown up in the tiny post office box she rented.  Now, seeing that damnable one box and two suitcases, she couldn’t help herself.  She had to cry.  She was entitled.  Her world - everything she had known and cherished for twenty-two years - had been reduced to one box and two suitcases.

The sob that caught in her throat was painful, so painful she couldn’t breathe.  She let the sorrow carry her away to nothingness like it had done so many times since she’d heard The Words.

But the nothingness did not let her think of The Words.  The nothingness did not let her think of anything - not The Words and not the sheaf of papers and, certainly, not the one box and two suitcases in the backseat.

The nothingness never lasted, however, and soon she was back to sitting on the shoulder of the road with her flashers on, a sheaf of papers sitting on the seat beside her, and her eyes still staring at the one box and two suitcases on the backseat.  Beside her, the paper crinkled as she finished neatly printing her note on their surface and then signed her name to the line marked with a bright-red post-it arrow.  She sighed.
The note was simple.  As was her life now.  Along with it and the one box and two suitcases on the backseat of her car, she knew she wouldn’t be misunderstood.

Buy Link: 

About BC Brown

BC Brown was born with six fingers on each hand endowing her with super powers, thus enabling her to fight crime. When a freak Cuisinart accident severed the additional fingers and powers, she fell back on her secondary talent - writing. Now she lives her life between the pages of a book - whether or not she has written it. Until she can find the surgeon to restore her fingers and powers, she has published three novels to date and been included in several anthologies. She enjoys writing mystery, paranormal,, science fiction and fantasy but is always in the mood for a challenge. You can follow her writing, or crime fighting, at:

Twitter: @BCBrownBooks