Alas, Cecily Harrowsmith—special agent for Her Majesty the Queen, expert in the martial arts of three continents, past mistress of princes, potentates and the occasional prime minister—was afraid of flying. She despised herself for this weakness, but not enough to board one of the Empire’s sleek, viridium-powered airships, strap herself into her seat and hope for the best.
Hence the current tedious journey. Cecily peered out of the window of her carriage at the endless expanse of russet-coloured desert stretching in all directions. The mere sight of all that sand was enough to make her throat burn. She sipped her tepid tea, wondering for the twentieth time why she’d accepted this bloody assignment.
Thus begins my sixth novel, Rajasthani Moon, a book that deliberately defies categorization. It contains elements of the steam punk and paranormal sub-genres, plus quite a lot of moderately extreme BDSM and a M/F/M ménage. It features a kick-ass Rubenesque heroine, a billionaire Rajah and a sexy, deliciously disreputable bandit. It flirts with non-consensual fantasies and lesbian attraction. It has some funny moments, not infrequently associated with sex. Oh, and it's a romance, with what I hope is a sublimely satisfying happy ending (although I won't tell you who ends up with whom!)
Writing this book involved taking risks. I've observed how readers cling to their favorite genres. I broke rules right and left with this novel. Would the market embrace my mash-up? Or would readers run away in droves, terrified of the unfamiliar?
Producing the same sort of stories, again and again, can be comfortable. It may help sales, too. To grow as authors, though, we have to leave safety behind. We must step out onto that high pinnacle of creativity and let go, defying the fear that we'll plummet ignominiously to the ground. We have to get over our fear of flying.
Rajasthani Moon was like nothing I'd written before. Well, that's not strictly true. Like most of my books, it has plenty of erotic content. What I mean is that I've never felt so free as I did writing this book. I gave myself permission to follow my imagination, no matter how wild its suggestions. I found this difficult at first. The further I ventured out onto my self-constructed limb, though, the easier I found the process.
The result? Well, I'm pleased with it. I have no idea what other people will think. But I am not going to worry. That's out of my control.
The passenger compartment was about ten feet long. Its walls were chest height. A canopy shaded one end, including the brass and quartz crystal control panel. The other was open to the sky, though the gas bag a dozen feet above them shielded them from the most direct rays of the sun. She was not surprised to discover that the floor was covered by multiple layers of intricately-patterned carpets and strewn with fat, multi-hued pillows. The Rajasthanis seemed to have little use for furniture.
Amir busied himself at the controls while Pratan lounged on the cushions, looking rakish and indolent. “Come here, Cecily,” he ordered. “Sometimes the take-off is a bit bumpy.”
Her heartbeat accelerated and her palms started to sweat at this reminder of what lay ahead. She gave him a sharp look. She could have sworn he was suppressing a chuckle.
Nevertheless, she reclined beside him, as he’d instructed. He slipped his arm around her shoulder and held her tight against his chest. His strength reassured her, but she still felt as though her stomach was turning somersaults.
A low frequency vibration hummed under them as Amir started the engine.
“Here we go,” called the Rajah. “Prepare to lift off.”
“Kiss me,” said Pratan. He took possession of her mouth without waiting for her acquiescence.
Amir released the tethers binding the dirigible to the roof. They retracted into their housings with a snap and the gondola swayed in reaction, springing upward a few feet. Cecily’s heart climbed into her throat. She gritted her teeth against sudden nausea. Pratan’s agile tongue wormed its way between her lips, urging her to relax and open, and the spell passed. Meanwhile, his hands wandered over her body, pulling her loose clothing out of the way so that he could stroke her breasts and belly.
His scent enveloped her, sandalwood and smoke superimposed on animal musk. The wolf had not returned since their encounter on Mount Abu, but Pratan still smelt like something feral. He burrowed into her, sucking on her tongue and nibbling her lips, while his fingers teased her nipples into hungry knots. Cecily moaned as the pleasure mounted. She lay back, cradled in the nest of cushions, and allowed him free access.
~ ~ ~
Rajasthani Moon is available at all your favorite bookstores.