Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Mistletoe Kisses - #Mistletoe #Kisses #HolidayRomance

Mistletoe leaves and berries

I received my first French kiss in front of a Christmas tree, from the man who would later become my first lover. I can recall the scene surprisingly well. I was fourteen, staying with my aunt over the holidays. Although she was born Jewish and at time was a disciple of an Indian guru, she had for some reason set up a tree in the living room. I remember that the twinkle of the lights twining through the branches was the only illumination. The moment has a silvery glow in my recollection. P. encircled me with his arms and pulled me against his chest, while planting his lips firmly on mine. I had no idea how to react.

Then suddenly his tongue was in my mouth. The intimacy of that sensation shocked me. I guess I knew about French kisses, academically speaking, but the reality was like nothing I'd imagined. I felt excited and scared and very confused, not knowing what to do exactly, but really, really wanting to get it right. He held me there, exploring me, for what seemed like hours. Afterward, in my room, I was so high I thought I'd float right off the bed. He wanted me - me, shy and awkward as I was, with my heavy-framed glasses, plump thighs and frizzy hair... As for P., he was as beautiful as an angel, pale as snow, with hair like spun gold and sea-blue eyes. And he smelled so good... that's one thing I remember, incense and sweat and peppermint from the candy canes we'd been eating, strange, male, but so delicious...

Once I had dredged up that memory, my thoughts turned to other kisses, midnight kisses as the old year slipped away and kisses under the mistletoe.

I found myself curious about the mistletoe kissing tradition. Mistletoe, it turns out, has had spiritual or magical significance for millenia. It is associated with the divine male essence, hence potency and virility (possibly because the waxy white berries resemble drops of semen). The plant is also entangled in a resurrection myth.

An old Norse tale recounts the birth of the god Baldur, son of Frigga and Odin, the king of the gods. A prophecy regarding Baldur's premature death led Frigga to extract a promise from every plant and animal on earth, that they would never harm her son. Somehow, however, she omitted the mistletoe plant and when Baldur reached glorious manhood, Loki tricked Baldur's blind brother into slaying him with an arrow fashioned from mistletoe. Baldur was dragged into the underworld, but like Osiris and Persephone, was brought back to life by the efforts of a loving woman (in this case his mother).

After Baldur's resurrection, Frigga declared mistletoe to be thenceforth the plant of peace. None of this, of course, explains why mistletoe has become a license to kiss, although the links with the solstice season are clear. Mistletoe is evergreen, symbolizing everlasting life. Pre-Christian cultures associate midwinter with the death and rebirth of the sun. These themes continue to echo in the Christmas story itself.

Apparently American author Washington Irving wrote about the mistletoe kiss tradition as early as 1820. This suggests that it has been practiced for a good deal longer. Most of the sources I found pointed to Scandinavia as the original source of the custom.

However they originated, kisses under the mistletoe retain a sense of mischievous transgression. It doesn't matter who you are, how old you are, to whom you're married. If someone catches you beneath that sprig of emerald leaves and snowy berries, you must submit to his or her kiss. To resist is considered to bring terrible luck. And who knows what you'll discover, mouth to mouth, breath to breath? The potent magic of the Druid's sacred plant might lead to ecstasy - or even love.

I'll leave you with a literary kiss under the mistletoe, from my recently released holiday tale Almost Home

 

The kiss caught her off guard.

One moment Suzanne was standing in the doorway to Helena’s den, scanning the occupants and wondering if she knew anyone at all at this party. The next moment someone twirled her around and fastened a pair of firm lips on hers. Out of instinct or habit, she closed her eyes. The darkness heightened her other senses. Powerful arms circled her body and pulled her against a fuzzy male chest. Her partner’s scent rose around her, a complex mix of soap and musk, evergreen and wood smoke. His tongue teased the seam where her lips met and she let him enter, her self-protective reflexes dulled by his warmth and the glass of merlot she’d downed on her arrival. His mouth tasted of eggnog and candy canes, appropriately seasonal. He was delicious, in fact—not just his mouth but the quiet confidence of his probing tongue, the sculpted muscle she felt under his sweater, his bold hands wandering across her back to her buttocks. She hadn’t enjoyed a kiss like this in a long time.

She’d felt chilled and tense ever since her plane touched down in frigid Boston but now her muscles began to unknot. He was a miniature sun, melting her, turning her languid and dreamy. She clutched at his solid form and returned his kiss, trading heat for heat. Tropical colours paraded behind her eyelids—fuschia, lime, peach, and aqua—shimmering like the water in her pool back home. She even began to perspire, her long-sleeved velvet dress suddenly too warm for comfort.

He pulled her full hips against his lean ones. A tell-tale lump, wonderfully hard, pressed against her belly. Her panties and tights dampened, too.

Normally she would have resisted but stress and alcohol made her susceptible. She allowed the kiss to lengthen and deepen, sinking into the pure pleasure of it.

Almost Home - MMF holiday erotic romance

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Almost-Home-Lisabet-Sarai-ebook/dp/B004RJ3KR0

Totally Bound: https://www.pride-publishing.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1018
 



Wishing you a Christmas full of merriment and mischief!


Monday, December 9, 2019

To be a good man, you need the right woman - @DeeSKnight #Giveaway #NomadAuthors #EroticRomance

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Dee is giving away an ebook of Only a Good Man Will Do and a $10 Amazon card during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may enter every day for your chance to win. You may find the tour locations here http://bit.ly/OWO122019

About One Woman Only

As one of a set of triplets, Jonah always feels the need to make his individuality known. So where his brother Daniel is serious and completely focused, Jonah shuns commitment. Where his genius brother Mark is hailed in the scientific world, Jonah hides beneath a car, tinkering. Thing is, being different isn't all it’s cracked up to be. It takes a woman—the right woman—to make him see that a "good man" can always be a better man.

Release date: November 2019
Words:80,310
Publisher: Nomad Authors Publishing
Genre: Erotic romance, HOT



One Woman Only Buy links:


Excerpt

"May I have this dance?"

Kelly turned at the sound of Jonah's voice behind her. Dinner had ended. All three of the boys had given best man speeches and Eve had even given a very creditable matron of honor speech, considering she had only known Marilyn and Caleb a short time. Lots of toasts had been raised and finally the live band had struck up the music. Caleb led his bride onto the floor for a foxtrot—a dance more than half of the guests had no idea how to do, including her.

Facing Jonah she sighed inwardly at how scrumptious he looked. Sure, his face was pretty much displayed on his brothers' heads, too, but there was something different about Jonah. His nose was just a little crooked from when Bobby Hendricks had broken it in ninth grade and his eyes held an especially bright sparkle when he smiled. Maybe… Well, she didn't know what caused the difference between Jonah and his brothers. Whatever it was, she had never been fooled by the so-called identical nature of the identical triplets. She'd wanted to be his girl since elementary school. Thought she would be in high school. And then she’d forced every last thought of him from her mind from senior year on.

Until now.

"I don't know how to foxtrot."

He shrugged. "Who does except those over fifty?" He glanced at his folks, still alone on the dancefloor, although a few couples were wandering out to join them now. "We can pretend."

She mentally compared standing on the sidelines alone now that Mama Rio left the party, or being held in Jonah's arms. Smiling, Kelly held out her hands. "Just don't step on my toes, Jonah Goodman, or there'll be hell to pay."

"Yes, ma'am." Together they walked onto the dancefloor. He took her right hand in his left and placed his right hand on her waist. Fortunately for them, the music changed to a slow tempo. Kelly laid her head on Jonah's shoulder, and he tugged her closer as they swayed to the music.

"This is nice," he murmured.

"Yes it is," she replied. So very nice. He smelled good. Beneath the light citrus fragrance of his aftershave was a slight whiff of pure man with maybe a twinge of motor oil or something so Jonah it brought tears to her eyes.

He rubbed a path up to her shoulder blades and gave a squeeze. "You fit me perfectly, Kelly."

"I do?"

"You sure do. I think our hearts can feel each other beat."

Kelly chuckled. "Smooth talker. Face to face like this our hearts are on opposite sides."

"Hey! I'm trying to be romantic here."

She sighed. "Keep on. It's appreciated."

"You smell…good."

She felt his smile. Raising her head she gave him a mock glare. "Watch it with those pregnant pauses, buster."

He used his hand to press her head back to his shoulder. "You do smell good, though. This isn't the same perfume you wore in high school. That was—"

"Lilac," they said at the same time. Once more she raised her head to look at him. "How did you remember that?"

"I remember much more than you might think." He turned her and moved her closer to the door onto the patio. "Each spring when lilacs are in bloom memories come flooding back. Does that surprise you?"

"More like shocks me," she said, grinning. And then she laid her head on his shoulder once more, finding she liked it more and more there in his arms. She stepped slightly closer and his arm tightened about her.

"Well, after a while I thought lilac seemed too girlish. I like the vintage scents, so in college I wore Wind Song. Then Shalimar was the scent Brad liked me to wear." She felt Jonah stiffen when she mentioned her ex, and really she didn't blame him. "But when I grew up enough finally to take charge of my own life, I started wearing Chanel No 5. A complex fragrance for what I hope is a complex woman."

"It suits you. Complex and beautiful." He kissed her temple. "Want to step outside for a minute?"

"Sure. It is a little warm in here."

On the patio, they could hear the sounds of the people from the television networks packing up equipment, chatting and laughing. Stars shone brightly in the clear night sky. Wood smoke from someone's fireplace wafted through the air and static electricity fairly crackled in the crispness of the autumn air.

"This is my favorite time of year," Kelly said. "The heat of summer is gone and winter nights curled up with a hot drink and blazing fire are ahead."

"Not me. I'm a summer boy all the way."

"A hothead you mean?" she teased.

"Oh, I'm hot all right." He waggled his brows at her. Kelly laughed.

"I do seem to remember that about you."

"You used to be pretty hot yourself. Still are." He leaned in. His eyes flicked down to her lips. Kelly sucked in a breath. She should stop him, she really should.


About the Author


A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. Writing was so much fun Dee decided to keep at it. That's how she spends her days. Her nights? Well, she's lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret. For romance ranging from sweet to historical, contemporary to paranormal and more join Dee on Nomad Authors. Contact Dee at dsknight [at] deesknight [dot] com.

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Sunday, December 8, 2019

Now available for pre-order! Cherry Pie and Mistletoe - #MatureRomance #HolidayRomance #SeniorSex


Cherry Pie and Mistletoe cover

Happy Sunday! I hope your holiday season so far has been full of love, peace and joy.

To help get you in the mood for Christmas, I’ve written a brand new holiday erotic romance story. Cherry Pie and Mistletoe will release next Friday, December 13th. You can order your copy from Smashwords now (and hopefully from Amazon within the next day or so!)

Here’s the blurb. I guarantee this story will warm your heart.

Cherry Pie and Mistletoe: A Mature Holiday Romance

Some Christmas traditions improve with age.

At ten thirty on a stormy Christmas Eve, I really didn’t expect any business, but the sign for our diner out on the highway reads “open until midnight”, and I’m a woman of my word. Good thing I didn’t close; the half-frozen long haul trucker who wandered in really needed some hot coffee, not to mention a slice of my luscious cherry pie.

Something about the grizzled, bear-like man with the chocolate-brown eyes and ready laugh spun me back to my scandalous, sensual younger days. I hadn’t wanted anyone in years, but I wanted Dave Driver. Was I brave enough to act on my desire? And would he flee, screaming, from the amorous attentions of a white-haired little old lady?

Preorder from Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/993385

Other outlets available soon!

Exclusive Excerpt

I tried without success to concentrate on the exquisite taste of the dessert in front of me, as Dave seemed to be doing. Instead, I was intensely aware of how close he was—and how paradoxically attractive. I watched his sensual mouth opening and closing around forkfuls of pie, the flick of his tongue over his lips as he gathered stray crumbs, the shift in his throat as he swallowed a mouthful of coffee.

He drained his coffee cup. He’d nearly finished. When he was done, he’d disappear into the winter night. He had a long way to travel before morning. His job probably depended on providing a reliable delivery schedule.

I was just a stop along the way.

I cleared my throat. “It must be hard being away from your family on Christmas,” I commented.

He glanced up from his almost empty plate. “Don’t have any family to speak of,” he said. “Just a son, living near Seattle. And we’ve never been close.”

What about your wife?” There, I’d asked.

His face clouded. “Ellen’s been gone for seven years already.”

Oh—I’m so sorry!” Now I felt guilty. I should have kept my mouth shut.

Dave shrugged. “That’s okay. She was sick for quite a while. Now I guess she’s at peace. And I’ve moved on. Sold the farm, bought the truck—life’s about change, Marnie. Nothing lasts forever.”

I thought about my own life, full of adventure by most people’s standards. The years in Paris, in the Caribbean, in Bangkok and in Greece, making art and making love. The parties, and the epiphanies. Yet here I was, back where I started.

Sometimes I think it’s all cycles,” I said. “I spent four decades traveling the world, living in all sort of exotic places. Then my dad became ill and couldn’t handle the diner, so I came home—to the only real home I’ve ever had.”

The diner’s yours?” Dave chuckled. “And here I thought you were just an abused employee, forced to work on the holiday!”

No, I gave Hank and Jeannie—the cook and the waitress—the night off. Figured they’ve got families, and I—well, anyway, the Algonquin’s mine now, though I don’t know how much longer I can keep it going. Mom and Dad opened the place before I was born, when Route 6 was a major artery. Now, with the Interstate…”

Tears gathered in my eyes. Damn, I thought. I do not want this guy’s sympathy.

People’re always gonna need a place to get a cup of coffee.” His voice was so quiet I could hear the sleet hissing against the window-glass. “And you should advertise this pie! Get it up on Facebook, or TripAdvisor, or whatever.”

Probably should.” I gathered our plates, empty but for a few crimson smears, and dumped them in the sink. I’d wash up after he left. “But I’m not sure I’ve got the energy, to be honest.”

He nodded. “Yeah, at our age, we have to choose the things that matter…” He trailed off into silence. I wondered what—or who—occupied his thoughts.

Elbows on the counter, I shifted closer, losing myself again in his warm, gold-flecked gaze. Now is what matters, I wanted to tell him. We might never have another chance.

Of course, I kept my mouth shut. I wasn’t as bold as I used to be.

Coming December 13th!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Nobody knows you're a weapon - Traceless by Meli Raine (@meliraineauthor)


Traceless cover

When you’re born without a trace, no one knows you’re a weapon.

Blurb

It's not against any formal rule for us to sleep together.
It is, however, strictly forbidden to have feelings for each other.
I can't do one without the other at this point.
Which means I am doomed.
When you don’t know who you can trust, reality distorts. It twists and oozes, disintegrating and reformulating to meet whatever needs its masters demand.
Just like me.
Just like Kina.
Except everything is different now that we know who we really are.
But there’s a second reality, you see.
This one can’t be manipulated.
It just is. Solid and true, it takes our mission, our training, our orders, turning them into nothing but secrets and lies.
And this new reality means my old reality is trying to kill everything I love.
Including her.

Read the second book in USA Today bestselling author Meli Raine's new Stateless trilogy.

The Stateless Series also includes:
Stateless, Book 1 (Available 10.15.19)
Fateless, Book 3 (release date 12.26.19)

Buy Links












Don’t miss the audiobook narrated by Joe Arden and Andi Arndt







Excerpt

I pull her into my arms on impulse, her small sound of pain as her eyebrow brushes against my shoulder making me let go.

Sorry.”

No. It's okay. I like being close to you.”

You do?”

Yes.”

We breathe into each other, mouths a few inches apart, her features blurring. An edge lives inside me, vibrant and real, relocating wherever it's needed. It divides me, making me know the difference between baseline calm and danger.

I want to live in baseline with her.

I want to live with her. Not co-exist.

Live.

She turns, somber and achingly present.

We can't keep doing this.”

Doing what?”

Not talking about this.”

Instead of asking her what she means, I slide my hands to her waist, palms greedy at her curves. She's taut and fit, with more muscle than I can see. My hands find it, memorize it.

Want it.

Let's talk, then.”

We're breaking every rule.” Her eyes flit to the jammer bar on my wrist again.

Once you’ve mastered the rules, you know when you have to break them.”

We were never taught that.”


Spinning me around, his mouth crushes mine, fingers digging into my hair, palms cupping the back of my neck, his body grinding into mine. I didn't come here for sex, but I have a feeling I'm not leaving without it.

I'm not sure I could leave without it, at this point.

About the Author

Meli Raine writes romantic suspense with hot bikers, intense undercover DEA agents, bad boys turned good, and Special Ops heroes — and the women who love them. Meli rode her first motorcycle when she was five years old, but she played in the ocean long before that. She lives in New England with her family.

Social Media Links:


Reviews and Endorsements for Meli Raine Books:

The first book in the False trilogy is a psychological thriller worthy of Hitchcock, keeping you guessing until the very end.” — Apple Books Editors

“…intrigue and dark humor on display in this thriller…”

While the immediate—and more compelling—tension in Raine’s (A Shameless Little Bet, 2018, etc.) heart-pumping series opener comes from Lily’s constant proximity to her would-be killer, the action takes place against a backdrop of secret government scandals. The “screwed-up D.C.-insider scandal,” as it is clumsily summarized early on, is pleasingly twisty…

Fortunately, Lily’s voice is captivating, wry, and tough enough to sell this thriller. The novel ends with a cliffhanger that startles, if only because readers will have become so attached to Lily.

Kirkus Reviews

Fresh, riveting, and thrumming with emotion and romantic suspense, False Memory is absolutely unputdownable. You need this book!” - New York Times bestselling author Meghan March

I accidentally lost a day to this trilogy! It is unputdownable. Apparently I'm on a dark-and-twisty binge, and this book is addictive.” - USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen (review for Harmless series)

Release blitz organized by Writer Marketing Services.


Thursday, December 5, 2019

Not sure who to trust.... #RomanticSuspense #Giveaway

His Salvation cover

Blurb

Will the woman he left behind a decade ago be His Salvation?

Seth McCullough left behind his high school sweetheart, Krista Chancellor, determined to keep her safe. Running from his own demons, Seth joined the military, hoping for a new start.

Ten years later, after experiencing psychological and physical trauma, Seth takes a trip to Mexico for rest and relaxation. Waking up one morning confused, bloody, and linked to multiple high profile murders, Seth is sure he’s lost what little sanity he has left. Determined to find answers, Seth reaches out to the only person he ever trusted, his old flame, Krista.

Now, Krista and Seth find themselves embroiled in an agenda too terrifying to comprehend. Not sure who to trust, and looking for answers, will the woman he left behind over a decade ago be His Salvation, or his ruin?

PLEASE NOTE: This is the second edition. It has extensive rewrites and has been re-edited.


About the Author

Michelle King lives in the Pacific Northwest with her four quirky and beautiful children. She loves coffee, Superman, rollercoasters, and has an addiction to chapstick.

She works as a registered nurse and in her spare time writes novels. As a multi-genre author, she has written in the categories of romance suspense, young adult, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. She has won four literary awards. You can visit Michelle’s website at https://www.authormichelleking.com/

 
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Michelle will be giving away a $20 Amazon/BN GC to one lucky reader during the tour.


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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

My Secret Life - #pseudonym #anonymity #identity


Black Lace first edition cover

When I published my first novel, I didn’t realize how profoundly it would change my existence. After all, I’d submitted to Black Lace on a whim, intrigued by the fact that someone might be interested in reading stories inspired by my forbidden fantasies and my real-world sexual adventures. Since my book took place in the mysterious and exotic orient, I devised a pen name to match, with a hint of foreign glamor.

I even concocted a fake biography for “Lisabet Sarai”. The only child of a Lebanese belly dancer and a French army officer stationed in the Middle East, Lisabet split her childhood between the souks of Marrakesh and the cafés of Montmatre. As a precocious teenager, she danced for princes and sultans, one of whom financed her higher education. As much in demand for her exquisite erotic poetry as for her sensuous danse de ventre, Lisabet has traveled all over the world, capturing her impressions in her daring stories. Her dozens of lovers remember her with nostalgia and affection, years after their brief but incandescent liaisons.

Little did I realize that Lisabet would take on a life of her own.

There are some grains of truth in my tall tale. I did perform as a belly dancer in my youth. I’ve visited every continent except Australia, and now live in Asia. And I did go through what I like to call my “sex goddess” period, in the golden age after the invention of the Pill and before AIDS, when I seemed to be overflowing with sexual exuberance which I shared pretty broadly. I like to believe that if my former lovers think of me, they do so fondly.

However, my public reality is far more prosaic than Lisabet’s. I’m in my sixties. I’ve been married for more than thirty years. I work in teaching and tech, occupations which do demand a certain sort of creativity, but which call on a different set of skills than my erotic writing. Most people who know me have never heard of Lisabet (though I occasionally fantasize that some of my friends or family might actually be Lisabet’s readers, without my knowing).

Although I’m genuinely proud of my body of work, stretching over nearly two decades, I can’t brag. I can’t even tell most people. Both my parents were avid readers—it’s no accident I’m a book worm—but they went to their graves not knowing about my alter-ego. They wouldn’t have disowned me or condemned me or anything like that, but I know my preferred subject matter would have made them uncomfortable. Once I went so far as to inscribe a print copy of Raw Silk (second edition) for my father, intending it as a birthday gift. At the last minute, I returned the book to my hidden stash of author’s copies, recognizing that my dad’s peace of mind was more important than my own desire for recognition.

Meanwhile, the need to keep my alternative existence a secret has become far more critical since I took up residence in a fairly conservative foreign country with strict anti-pornography laws. I love my adopted home and enjoy living here. If I were exposed as the notorious Lisabet Sarai, I could be kicked out, even put in jail. So I take precautions. I use a different computer for my Lisabet work and communications than for other tasks. I encrypt all my files. I don’t use the same social networks for my two identities. I never do anything related to Lisabet on my phone. I bite my tongue when someone starts talking about self-publishing.

I have friends here who are literary, creative types. I am so tempted to tell them about my carefully hidden career. I really have to watch myself. After twenty years of writing and publishing smut, I want to shout from the rooftops, give away copies to friends and family, do signings and readings like other authors. I don’t dare.

So my existence as Lisabet Sarai is pretty much limited to the cybersphere. I email. I blog. I participate in the Erotica Readers & Writers Association lists. Very rarely I get the chance to meet some of my erotica colleagues in person. When I do, it’s a tremendous high.

I love connecting with fellow erotic authors. To be honest, I feel closer to many of my on-line friends in the erotica community than I do to my meat space acquaintances. I suppose that’s because with them, I can be honest. I don’t have to hide behind a veil of respectability. I can be myself—experimental, iconoclastic, taboo, still chronicling the thrilling variations of desire even though I’m a senior citizen.

The thing is, Lisabet Sarai really is me, a hugely important part of me that I have to keep a secret from most of the world. It’s difficult, even a bit painful, to conceal my true nature. I’m grateful that with you readers, at least, I don’t have to hide.


Monday, December 2, 2019

From online game to erotic memoir - @CharlotteGatto #GentlemansPlaything #Dominance #Noncon


The Gentleman's Plaything cover


By Charlotte Gatto (Guest Blogger)

The Gentleman’s Plaything started as an online game. It was fun, but not enough. I needed a place to explore my character’s personality, her thoughts, and emotions, and to go into more detail about what happens to her as a captive at The Gentleman’s Retreat. I wanted to invent completely new scenes with different characters. So I started an online diary.

But that wasn’t enough either!

After my first book, Party Games (now re-released as Pleasure Party Games) was published I was thirsting for that “just published author thrill” once again. I absolutely love writing as Clara Woodford, so I decided to turn her online diary into a novel. It took forever! You would think that writing a book that was already about a third completed would be quick and easy. But, I guess I just don’t do things the quick and easy way!

I re-wrote every single post from my website and added many more completely new diary entries. I wanted the reader to really get to know Clara and to understand her, so I wrote all about her childhood, her parents, and her friends, as well as her emotions, hopes, and dreams. Clara is a captive at the Gentleman’s Retreat, but she wasn’t kidnapped so, how did she get there? I had to figure out a logical way for her to arrive and yet be unable or unwilling to leave. That wasn’t easy! I also had to think about how she remains so sweet and innocent despite the awful things that often happen to her. There had to be a reason for her naïveté.

Even once the book was finished, I didn’t feel it was quite ready for publishing. I kept editing and polishing it, tweaking things here and there, making changes following feedback from friends. I wanted it to be amazing. It took a while before I was completely happy with the final edit, but it was definitely worth the extra time and effort.

Although I haven’t played Clara online for over a year now and there has been no real ending to that game, I obviously needed a satisfactory conclusion for the book. The way a story ends is extremely important to me, and I wanted something unexpected and original that would leave the reader feeling pleasantly surprised and happy. I don’t like predictable or sad endings! Of course, I’m not going to say whether she does get out or not, but there are no cliffhangers. I’m itching to write a sequel, but I have other projects in the works that I’m excited about completing first so, I’m sorry, my sweet Clara, you’ll have to wait your turn!

The Gentleman’s Plaything is the personal diary of Clara Woodford, held against her will at the Gentleman’s Retreat, used by the men there in any way they please. Sometimes they are gentle and almost romantic; other times, they play cruel games with her body and mind, and she’s left hurt, crying, scared, and confused. Clara dreams of escape, but sometimes, just sometimes, she can see a tiny light shining through the darkness. Reading Clara’s diary, we learn about her childhood, how she arrived at the Gentleman’s Retreat, what happens to her while she’s there, and… if she ever gets free!

Please be advised that this is a dark and twisted erotic fantasy. The men in this book do what they please with the women they meet and, while some of those women are willing and eager participants, most are not.

Blurb

All she wanted was to find love.

All she wanted was a little adventure.

All she wanted was to cool off in his swimming pool.

But now he had her and he would never let her go. Her swim had been short; her adventure would be long.

And love?

Sometimes, in nightmares, we find a dream we never knew we had.

Excerpt

My first diary entry! So, I’ll tell you about the man who won me in a raffle on my first day here at the Gentleman’s Retreat.

Terrified of what was about to happen, I waited in the lobby for the monster who obviously thought that full use of my body was a perfectly normal prize to win. I focused on the parquet floor, then on my bare feet, then on my toenails and their chipped pink nail polish as I tried to block out what was going on around me. But it didn’t work. My other senses filled in all the horrible, frightening details as whimpers, moans, and screams pierced through the heavy stench of cigars, alcohol, and sex.

I saw his shoes first. They stopped in front of me, shiny, black, no doubt expensive, and definitely arrogant.

Follow me,” the shoes’ owner said.

I didn’t want to look up. After all, why should I care what he looked like? He was just taking me to my rapist.

Your cheeks match the pink flowers over there. You’re as pretty as they are.”
We were outside now, in one of the little gardens, and I saw his face clearly for the first time. And I blushed. I was so annoyed with myself! This evil excuse for a human being happened to be good-looking, and I was blushing instead of telling him exactly what I thought of him. Which obviously amused him greatly. He laughed.

Stop it!”

Okay. I promise not to compliment you again.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “No. I meant stop laughing at me!”

Ah, I see. Do you blush like that all the time? It’s adorable.”

No, only when I’m waiting to meet a man who thinks he can have sex with me just because he paid a lot of money and won some stupid raffle.” I almost spat the words at him, but as soon as I’d finished, I held my breath, scared I’d said too much. If he thought me rude, would he tell Mr. Acheron? Had I just made things much worse? But I’d promised myself that I would fight and that’s exactly what I would do!

Waiting for the man’s reaction was terrifying. His eyes sparkled, but I couldn’t tell if it was because he was amused or angry. He cocked an eyebrow and tilted his head to one side while he continued to look at me. He seemed to be thinking. Then he smiled, and the kindness in his eyes caught me completely off guard.

Come. Sit.”

I didn’t want to sit. I wanted to run fast and far away, but it clearly wasn’t a request, so I followed the man over to a wooden bench and sat next to him. Besides, he was actually being nice now. Maybe my confidence had worked after all!

He turned his body so that he was facing me.

Look at me, Clara.”

I didn’t want to, but I obeyed. I wasn’t sure how much I could get away with or what would happen if I didn’t do as I was told, but I figured I should probably save the disobedience for later when I was sure, he would want to try and do far more than just make me look at him.

So I turned to face him and had the sudden, irrational desire to touch his face. He really was very handsome. I even thought for just a tiny split second that I wished it could be him who was going to take me against my will, but I quickly and angrily banished that thought. I didn’t even know him! It didn’t matter that his voice was silky soft, and his dark blond hair was cut in my favorite style. Or that his perfectly tailored suit matched his hazy, pale brown eyes. I didn’t know him, and he didn’t know me, so I most definitely didn’t want to even kiss him, let alone have sex with him!

I suddenly felt warm, flustered, embarrassed, and even more angry than before.

Stop looking at me like that!” I shouted. “Where’s your boss or whoever you’re making me wait for? Is he too busy with another girl he won in a raffle, so you have to get me all ready for him to…” I couldn’t finish my sentence. I had started to imagine things I didn’t want to imagine.

He laughed again, and I dug my nails into the palms of hands. I hate being laughed at.

Would you like me to get you all ready for him to…?”

He grinned as he mocked me, and I bit down hard on my lip and refused to speak, too scared to give anything else away.

I won the raffle, Clara. I’m the man you’re meeting today.”

About Me

Charlotte Gatto is my pen name. I am very secretive about my real-life identity because what I write in my books, on social media, and for my website is extremely personal. I explore my sexuality, desires, fantasies, as well as mental health struggles and chaotic emotions. I reveal parts of me that I just wouldn’t want to show to everyone.

I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of liking the things I like or of being who I am; I just want to have a little control over who knows me that deeply. It’s one thing to tell a friend that I enjoy being tied up during sex, for example, but I don’t want to be in the supermarket wondering if the guy staring at me with a weird look on his face is utterly disgusted by my presence or turned on by his image of me handcuffed naked to his bed.

I hope that one day I’ll feel it’s okay to tell a few more people about my writing because I’m really proud of it. It’s frustrating not being able to say, “Hey, guess what, I published another book today!” Maybe when I’m older, and I care less about what people think of me!

Twitter: @CharlotteGatto