Welcome to the Jean Journal, and Feature Artist Fridays! Where we chillax with amazingly talented people from around the world. Come in, sit down, and enjoy…
Friday, August 31: Of Blood & Bondage; author Annalynne Russo tells all!
Today we’re getting to know Annalynne Russo, aka the Vampire Scribe, as we celebrate her August 28 release of BLOOD AND BONDAGE! The author is graciously offering a free e-copy of her book to a lucky commenter to this post. Leave some feedback for your chance to WIN!
Anaïs Moreau is a classically-trained ballerina born during Henry VIII’s reign in France. After falling victim to the sexual appetites of a nobleman at court, she suffers betrayal and abandonment at the hands of her aristocratic father. Destitute and distraught, she embraces her friend Christine’s gift of immortality and becomesa vampire. For centuries, Anaïs preys on calculating womanizers whose solepurpose is to manipulate women. Until one day, she meets her match.
Oliver Polinski works for the Bureau of Paranormal Affairs. His job is to plan covert missions and train his army of soldiers to hunt downand kill supernatural creatures, vampires most notably. When Oliver and Anaïscross paths at a mutual friend’s wedding, they learn that they both prefer sex to be a bit kinkier than most.
Can these two star-crossed lovers overcome blinding hate andprejudice for one another and find love? Only time will tell.
Welcome back to the Jean Journal, Annalynne! I’m thrilled to see your newest work, and I gotta say, love, love, love the cover art! Congratulations also on some of your other books coming out in print…that’s fantastic!
Let’s start with more about YOU. Born: San Diego, CA Feb. 27th Currently living: San Diego, CA Education and work history: BA from San Diego State Univ in Spanish literature. I have taught kindergarten for the past 13 years. Family: Spanish and Italian Hobbies, favorites: salsa dancing, romance novels, Mexican art, travel Total no. of published works: 1 full length novel, 2 novellas, 3 short stories Where to find you: Blog: http://www.vampirescribe.blogspot.com/ Website: http://vampirescribe.com Evernight Publishing: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/pages/Annalynne-Russo.html
Tell us how Blood & Bondage came to be. Your inspiration? Ahem – Research? How long did you spend writing and what was the most challenging part you faced? Blood & Bondage is the third book in my Tales from the Vampire Scribe. The inspiration for the story came from my prior relationship with the hero in the story, Oliver Polinski. He was one of the minor characters in my debut novel, Irresistible Nemesis. For months, he kept nagging at me to tell his story.
I love when authors say their characters talk to them! We must all be a little nutty. Will there be more installments? Same, or different characters? Blood & Bondage is the third story in the Tales from the Vampire Scribe series. Currently, I am in the process of writing the fourth book, which is about two-thirds complete. I also have a fifth book planned. We’ll see how the story line for the series unfolds from there. It will depend on how the characters develop. to see if more novels are forthcoming.
Describe your writing atmosphere and the process you use to craft your storylines. Most of my characters come to me in dreams. I often wake up in the wee hours of the morning to jot down story ideas and dialogue. Strangely enough, I’ve got several plot lines that constantly run through my mind. They serve as a never-ending stream of consciousness in which recurring characters resurface every so often and introduce me to new ones. It can be maddening, especially for someone like me who covets her beauty sleep.
Can you give us a hint about your next project? Book Four is tentatively titled Blood of the Nile is set in Cairo where the hero and heroine from Irresistible Nemesis are vacationing on their honeymoon. I also have an unrelated short story, Blood Bound, that will be released by Evernight Publishing as a contributing story to their Just Vamps Halloween anthology.
Looking forward to more of your work! I will be joining you and other contributors in the Just Vamps anthology, very excited for that to come out.
Where to buy Blood & Bondage: Evernight Publishing: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/blood-and-bondage-by-annalynne-russo/
Please set up the scene we’re about to sample: In this scene, Oliver and Anaïs must infiltrate an underground vampire bondage club in order to flush out Pierre Gaucher, a sadistic serial killer with an unhealthly fixation for Anaïs. To draw the murderer from the shadows, they must themselves on public display in front of a roomful of bloodthirsty fiends.
Here’s a droplet of Blood & Bondage; don’f forget to leave a comment!
Other than the barrage of crimson stares, Anaïs found it difficult to make out faces. She did, however, recognize the guttural moans and groans of pleasure that came from every corner of the room. In addition, the loud bass of hard rock pounded against the walls, making the foundation of the building rattle and hum. The place had been painted in black with only a few dim strobe lights that flashed on and off at intermittent times.
Using the leash he’d insisted she employ, Anaïs paraded her boy toy across the length of the room. She only released him long enough to shackle his arms and legs to the hooks that hung from the walls and low-lying ceiling.
“Are you sure we can do this?” Anaïs asked with trepidation. She wasn’t necessarily keen on public exhibition, especially since the two of them had to make their act appear legitimate. If their resolve wavered for even a second, the bloodsuckers in the club would see through it and surely pounce.
“I’m up to the task. I promise to be a good little sub,” he whispered huskily into her ear, making goose bumps form on already sensitive skin. “What about you?”
“This isn’t generally my scene. But I’m a dancer. I’m used to being on stage.” Anaïs drew back. She stared into the depths of her lover’s eyes, gauging his mood. “You do realize, I’ll have to bite you. If not, these fuckers won’t buy the charade.”
Oliver shrugged his shoulders, then handed Anaïs the flogger he’d kept huddled at his side. “No safe word, eh? Well, I suppose you’ve earned a bit of retribution.”
Anaïs squared her shoulders, then yanked on the chains that bound him to ensure they were secure. She had to make her role as dominatrix seem real. After a brief moment of hesitation, she strutted around his tightly-coiled body, her perusal gluttonous and intense. At least she hoped that’s the way it looked. As she encircled him, the cat o’ nine tails she held in her hand lashed at the rippled muscle on his chest. Damn, she found Oliver impossible to resist. Once again, the urge to ravage him had snuck up on her. There was something about his refined masculinity that kept her perpetually ensnared. God, she couldn’t wait to sample the rare, well-preserved vintage of his blood.
Standing behind him, Anaïs raked her razor-tipped fingernails down the curve of his spine. Then she cracked the whip again and watched his body wince. Her hand drifted up, two bloody fingers teetered on the ridge of her lower lip. A few seconds later, her tongue slithered out and sucked the rich, red deliciousness off the fingertips.
That tiny tidbit of her lover’s life essence drove Anaïs’s libido into an all-out frenzy. Moisture from her womb soaked through the slick fabric of her clothing. The warm, slippery wetness slid down her inner thighs. Her hardened nipples sprang to life, rubbing painfully against the clingy latex cat suit. She wanted to tear open the sphere-shaped zippers and thrust her bosom into his face. But with an audience in tow, forcing her sub to do it with his teeth would make for a much more convincing show.
At his mistress’ decree, Oliver lowered his head and obliged, unzipping the fabric that covered each breast in one fell swoop. He puckered up and took one plump areola into his mouth, while he rolled the roughness of his weathered palm over the other.
“Suck harder, damn it! For Christ’s sake, do as I command.” Anaïs screamed loud enough for the masses to overhear.
Oliver’s low rumble reverberated against her skin. No doubt he was turned on, almost as much as she. With their bodies in such close proximity, she could hear the man’s heart beating in his chest. His carotid artery pulsed wildly on the side of his neck and she could no longer war with her instincts.
Anaïs felt her sharp, serrated canines emerge, ready to pierce her lover’s supple flesh. With his mouth still suckling her breast, she reached down and clasped his enormous cock through his jeans, stroking its length until he purred like a cat. Once in the throes of pleasure, she sank her fangs deep, siphoning his blood greedily.
Oliver bucked slightly, then groaned in a clear attempt to remain in control. She knew it must have taken everything he had not to yank on the chains and pull out the stake attached to his hip. To hell with the fact that her bite had made both of them feel good.
Anaïs pulled back, releasing the suction from their pleasure racked bodies. Briefly, she gazed at his face. His eyes still swirled with sexual intent. The flush of his cheeks and the sweat on his brow served as proof that Oliver, too, had enjoyed their display.
Anaïs growled as her tongue swept over the twin pinpricks she’d left in his neck in order to cauterize the open wound. Her shy insecurities had been replaced by desire. “Don’t move, lover boy. The show’s not over yet.”
Friday July 25: On a clear day you can see Forever; meet the Forever Men with author Lace Daltyn
Walls crumble when you build a forever love.
As a couple, the deep, sensual connection between Desi and Alec is imaginative and limitless, even though Desi’s fear that love is transient keeps her from telling her man how she feels. Fun-loving Alec, who lost his parents in a tragic accident, has found that kind of forever love again. He’ll do whatever it takes to keep it, including giving Desi the one thing he lacks—a partner with a serious side.
With their fledgling construction company headed for the skids if they don’t finish the job on time, Desi and Alec are frantic to catch up. Enter Alec’s friend, Matt, a man haunted by the “dull and unimaginative” label his ex-fiancé pinned on him.
Working side by side, a thirst grows that seems unquenchable and each must come to terms with old hurts in order to consider possibilities never before imagined.
Welcome new author Lace Daltyn. Thanks for dropping by and congrats on your new release! Besides ‘author’, what other 5 words describe you?
Hi, everyone. And many thanks to Jean for having me here. Hmmm. I’m not so good on describing myself. I prefer envisioning things in my head. I guess that’s why I write fiction, eh? I’ll give it a try, though.
Mother, caregiver, weather-junkie (does that qualify as one word?), open-minded, and focused.
I’m a hyphen-junkie, so I accept your adjective as one word! Where do you currently call home, and do you have a ‘day job’?
I live in the Pacific Northwest, in the shadow of majestic Mount Rainier. I don’t have a day job, at least not a paying one. Writing is still relegated to evenings and weekends, though, as I spend a lot of time helping elderly parents.
Mmm, I’ve visited the area several times. A magic place, indeed! Tell us about your journey in becoming a writer. When did you first start?
I tip my hat to those who work day jobs, raise a family, and still manage to eke out time to write. That didn’t work for me, so I had to wait until my income was no longer a pivotal need for our family. I’ve been writing for a few years, but it’s a slow process for me. I angst over edits. 🙂
Who doesn’t? What do you need to ‘get in the mood’ for writing?
This is easy. Music and candles. I do write erotic romance, after all. I also do a storyboard for each book, filled with plot lines and, um, visual inspirations.
Where did you get the idea and inspiration for Forever Men? Is it part of a series?
Forever Men is a stand-alone novella. Three characters pushed their way to the front of my brain, begging for a story. Alec, with his fun-loving sense of humor, decided he wanted the lead, so I let him run with it. I’m glad I did. He’s a bit of a prankster, but he really did right by Desi.
What other genres would you like to explore?
I have a fantasy I play with when I have some spare time. (Do we ever have that?). And a women’s fiction story I am currently shopping around.
What’s your next project, and what’s ahead for Lace, personally and professionally?
I’m working on the first story in an erotic series. Professionally, I plan to continue climbing with my writing career. I wake up at night with stories that I want to tell, so I hope to be writing for years to come. Personally, I’m hoping to travel more over the next few years, too. Last year, my husband and I got to spend some time in Eastern Canada (Quebec City and Ottawa). My dream vacation is to spend time traveling through Australia and New Zealand. I hope to see lots of fun places to let my characters get into trouble in. 🙂
Where can fans reach you/see your work?
I’d love to hear from folks. Here’s how you can contact me or read more:
Give us some background on the excerpt we’re about to read:
I’d love to. As a couple, the deep, sensual connection between Desi and Alec is imaginative and limitless, even though Desi’s fear that love is transient keeps her from telling her man how she feels. Fun-loving Alec, who lost his parents in a tragic accident, has found that kind of forever love again. He’ll do whatever it takes to keep it, including giving Desi the one thing he lacks—a partner with a serious side.
Behind schedule on their fledgling construction company’s first project, they bring in Alec’s friend, Matt, to help out. This excerpt is toward the beginning of the story, when Matt first arrives on the job.
I have to tell you, my published stories also center around the construction industry. You could say it’s in my blood! Forever Men holds a special fascination for me, so without further delay, here’s a shovel-bucket full of Lace Daltyn’s FOREVER MEN. Enjoy!
Only two trucks were parked in front. He recognized Alec’s old beater. The other one, a sleek, black number had wording on the back window.
Silly boys. Trucks are for girls.
Now that was a woman Matt wanted to meet. Motion caught his attention. He squinted, and then his eyes widened. Was that a man and woman screwing in the middle of the unfinished second floor? Matt reached for his binoculars. He focused in on the couple, and his jaw went slack at the same time his jeans grew tight. The binoculars gave him a close-up view of Alec, being ridden by a … a beautiful siren. Long, dark, wavy hair swayed across a shapely back as she rose and dipped.
Her sun-kissed skin, covered by a sheen of sweat, looked flawless. He could see a construction worker’s tan line on her arm, and that made him even hornier.
When she stretched and pulled her hair out of the way, his view was unencumbered, and he almost shot his load into his jeans right then and there. Perfect, round breasts with nipples pebbled by desire bounced as she rode his friend.
Alec had one hand on her hip and the other buried between her legs. The woman’s eyes were closed, but the open-mouthed rapture on her face showed how close she was to a climax. She cupped her own breasts, kneading them, tweaking the nipples.
Matt couldn’t tear his gaze away as the woman came. She threw her head back and cried out. He felt as turned on by the look of utter delight on her face as he was by how she moved her hands along her own body.
Damn, Alec’s woman was hotter-than-hot.
And double damn, but he was now horny as hell.
Desi tugged at Alec’s chest hair, laughing. “Okay, so maybe I did need a break.”
Alec reached up and pinched a taut nipple between his fingers. “Anytime you need help relaxing, babe, I’m your man.” He looked at his watch. “You might want to get dressed, though. I found us some help. He should be here soon.”
She yelped. “Soon?” Desi jumped up, grabbed for her clothes and headed for the most secluded part of the second floor.
“Why didn’t you tell me someone was coming?”
“I figured we had enough time.” He grinned. “Looks like we did.”
Alec pulled his jeans on and walked over to lean against the framework. He saw the truck tucked back almost out of sight and grinned. With a wave of his arm, he motioned Matt in.
While Desi pulled herself together, he went downstairs to greet him. Seeing the bulge in his friend’s jeans, Alec’s grin widened.
“See anything interesting?” he said, slapping Matt on the back.
“Shit, man. Couldn’t you have gotten a room?”
“Hey, there are two floors of them, right here.”
“A room with walls, man. Walls!”
Where you can pick up this novella:
Evernight Publishing: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/forever-men-by-lace-daltyn/
All Romance ebooks: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-forevermen-882317-146.html
Friday, July 13: Crouching Tiger – Hidden Scars; a walk on the wild side with Doris O’Connor
- Can some scars ever truly heal?Cherie ran away from Ink once. She is not going to get the chance to do so again, but helping her heal will take all of his skills as a Dom. Using Shibari, Knife play, and Ménage sex, he shows her that pleasure can be found in the things that haunt her.
Emotionally and physically scarred Cherie has sought refuge at Club Ink, where she keeps everyone at arm’s length. When Ink forces her to face up to her demons, does her submission hold the key to her future happiness? Or will their shared past destroy them once and for all?
Hi Doris! Thanks for joining me on Feature Artist Fridays, and congrats on the release of Tiger Scars. I’ve followed your writing for awhile now, and I’m super excited to have the opportunity to ask you some questions!
Ah, thank you, Jean. That is so kind of you to say. I’m delighted to be here! Thanks for having me.
Besides ‘author’, what other 5 words describe you?
Mum, Wife, Romantic, Passionate, Determined
I love that you spelled “Mum,” your English is showing! How many published titles have you written, and what did you do prior to becoming an author?
With Tiger Scars the total of published titles is now 12 with another story due out soon. You could say it’s been a busy year. Prior to becoming an author I was what I am still now, a stay at home mum to my brood of nine children. They range in age from 21 down to 11 months, and keep me on my toes, as you can imagine. Over the years I have done all sorts, as the family grew. I’ve worked in insurance, in hospitality, tourism, a care home, and I provided day care from my home for about seven years. I also volunteered for a Breastfeeding support group (LLL) for years. I had to hang my leader hat up when my writing took off, as I had no time to do it justice anymore. I like to keep busy!
I’ve read some of the Lure and Giovanni Clan series. Are the Tigers a bit of a departure for you? Tell us about the inspiration for this series, and did it require a bit of research?
I’m not sure departure us the right word. I’d like to think of it more as natural progression. I never set out to be an Erotic writer. That part snuck up on me. I used to be terribly embarrassed about writing sex scenes. They didn’t come easy at first, but try as I might, I couldn’t keep my characters from jumping each other’s bones. Once I truly embraced being character led, and gave them free reign, my writing just got hotter and hotter.
Until last year I hadn’t read any BDSM stories either, but a friend recommended a few, and the more I read, the more I liked what I was reading. It was inevitable that BDSM elements would find themselves into my writing.
The idea for the tigers came from an Anthology call. Keyboards and Kink, three little words that made my muse sit up and take notice. When she jumps up and down like that, I have no choice but to start typing. Before I knew what was happening, I had a first chapter and then my hero did that *really* annoying thing, my characters like to do. He did a 180 and announced that he was in fact a shifter. Not only that, but he ran a BDSM club for shifters. Well, the rest is history, as they say. I had secondary characters popping up all over the place, clamoring to have their story told and the Club Ink series was born.
Research, hmm, yes, that proved interesting. I did a lot of reading, quizzed a few people online, who I knew were into the life style, and spent ages googling things. I’m just glad I have my personal netbook. There were a few instances when the lid was put down rather rapidly, shall we say, when one of the kids walked into the room, lol. And needless to say hubby was only too glad to assist with some of the more hands-on research *cough*.
Having said that, Club Ink is a work of fiction, and whilst I try very hard to stay true to the principles of BDSM in the series, some parts are naturally exaggerated. I’m sure in real life Cherie’s emotional recovery in Tiger Scars would take a lot longer than the timeframe it takes place in the book.
What were the easiest parts of the book to write? The hardest?
The love story was by far the easiest to write. Ink and Cherie love each other deeply, yet circumstances have torn them apart, and they struggle to find each other again. Ink was such a strong voice in my head; his parts were easy to write. Well, the emotional parts. Some of the scenes he wanted me to include, they were tough to write—especially the knife play scene.
Cherie’s backstory was also incredibly difficult to do justice too. I cried buckets, I really did, and her recovery was emotionally very draining to put on paper. But I also loved writing her, because she is such a strong woman. She suffers greatly, yet manages to claim back her life and reach a happy place again. With Ink’s help of course. Every woman should have a man like Ink in their life!
Aside from hubby reading your novels at lunch break, what does your family think about your writing?
*giggles* Hubby doesn’t only read them, he actively promotes them, bless him. He even told our church pastor all about my work in great detail. *blushes* He is by far my staunchest supporter. The kids vacillate from being proud to embarrassed to indifferent, depending on their age, and in which company they are at the time.
I haven’t got any other family on my side to worry about. I’d like to think my gran, may she rest in peace, would have cheered me on. Hubby’s family haven’t really commented on my writing. Friends have been nothing but supportive!
Vacillate – great word! What are the biggest turn-ons/turn-offs for you in a romance novel?
Turn-ons: A tortured alpha male/s and a feisty heroine. A strong love story with hot sex. BDSM, Shifters, Vamps, bad boys 😉
Turn-offs: Sex just for the sake of it. Sloppy writing, open endings, beta males (sorry), they just don’t do it for me, lol. Wimpy, whiny heroines waiting to be rescued. Give me a strong female lead, please!
What’s next for Doris O’Connor, personally and professionally? Do you have some specific goals?
Hmm, they are all interlinked really. I’m looking forward to seeing my youngest grow up. We’re not going to have any more babies, so every new thing he does is kinda bitter sweet. Our eldest is off to University in September, so that is another big change as she will be the first to move out of the family home. Hubby and I will be celebrating 25 years together in November, which amazes me in parts, and in others it only seems like yesterday that we met.
Professionally, I will keep on writing to the very best of my ability. I would like to be able to make a substantial contribution to the family income over the next few years to enable hubby to re-train. He hates his job, bless him, but keeps at it for us, ’cause it pays well. So, yes the big goal is to ‘make’ it with my writing.
What’s a fun fact about you that not everyone knows?
When I first started writing, very long sentences were my downfall. My critique group coined the term DDS (deadly doris sentence) – a new editing term. Ironically I’m now known as D the D (think about it) and I made it into Raven McAllan’s Ryding Rider as such 😉
I’ll take your word for it! Where can fans reach you/see your work, and what’s the best thing they can do to help you right now?
I also recently joined Pinterest, which is proving far too addictive. My inspiration board for Tiger Scars is here: http://pinterest.com/dorisoconnor/tiger-scars-club-ink/
I’m very grateful to all the readers who took the time to review my books or dropped me an e-mail to say how much they enjoyed my work. I love hearing from readers, and it always puts a big smile on my face. On a practical level, if you read my work and liked it, tell your friends!
Give us a bit of backstory for the excerpt we’re about to read.
Ok, Ink and Cherie are about to have their very first scene together. Cherie is a full figured lady, who bears many scars, both emotionally and physically. She’s sought refuge at Club Ink, but when Ink witnesses a panic attack he decides to take action.
It will take all of Ink’s skills as a Dom to help her through this. This is one of my favourite scenes in the book.
Hang on to your tigers, folks and read on! Buy links follow below…
“Eyes on me, baby girl.”
The softly delivered words held an unmistakable command she was unable to ignore.
“Good girl.” His smile of approval warmed her from the inside out, even as his next words sent her into panic mode again. “Strip for me.”
“No, I can’t … I—” His finger on her lips stopped her, and Cherie froze at his exaggerated sigh.
“Are you arguing with me, girl?” The softly delivered words were deceptively gentle, and he tapped her lips once, before he stepped back and just watched her. Cherie kept her gaze on the floor, not daring to look at him. You didn’t say no to Ink in full Dom mode, and his earlier gentleness notwithstanding, she knew he never truly lost his persona. It had been a huge part of him fifteen years ago, and from what she had observed over the last year, it was now as much a necessity for him as breathing. His reputation was as fearsome as it was just, never cruel, but always demanding, expecting instant obedience from any sub or employee – that was Ink – and that was the very reason she sought him out after all.
She shook her head, knowing that he was watching her every move as he slowly circled round her.
“So, what’s it to be, girl?” She flinched at the intonation, the audible proof of his annoyance. Her fingers slowly went to the hooks on her Basque, her hands shaking so much she couldn’t unhook the delicate loops. His large hands over her frozen ones stilled the movements, and she bit back a sob of relief.
“Remember to use your safe word, Cherie, if you have to. I’ll stop. We regroup. I’m not a monster, but we won’t leave here until you’ve beaten this.” His gravelly voice washed over her, soothing her as much as the words, delivered with spine-tingling intensity. This was the man she remembered, the man who’d won her heart. “Do you understand what I’m saying to you, baby girl?”
He cupped her chin in his hand forcing her to look up at him and Cherie lost herself in the concern she read in his eyes. She nodded, and he smiled briefly, before he re-assumed control.
“I can’t hear you. Use your words, girl.”
The abrupt change in his attitude focused her like nothing else could, and she scrambled to comply with a shaky, “Yes, Sir.”
“Good girl. Now, strip!”
Again she tried to comply, her hands shaking so much it took several attempts to just unhook the first loop. She struggled on, taking courage from the quiet way Ink simply stood watching her. When she finally unhooked the last barrier and her breast fell free, his sharp intake of breath had her feverishly trying to cover herself.
“No, let me see.”
The terse command whipped through the air as effectively as the real thing would have, and she dropped her hands. Mortification spread through every cell of her body, and she clamped her eyes shut, not wanting to see the disgust in his eyes.
He continued to circle her slowly, and she jumped when his hands settled on her shoulders. They traced a path down her shoulder blades over the zigzag pattern of scars she knew were on her lower back. His hands caressed her hips drawing her stiff body back against him, and she gasped at the feel of his thick, long cock pressing into her. He dropped a kiss on her neck, and his hands skimmed across her ribcage until they cupped the heavy globes. He massaged them gently, causing her head to fall back on his shoulders as her body reacted to his nearness. His harsh breath in her ear, the reverent way in which he traced the scars crossing her tummy, his renewed intake of breath at the puckered, ugly area under her right breast, where the knife had sliced through her, leaving a sunken stretch of skin, all combined to slowly build her arousal.
“Never hide from me, baby girl. You’re beautiful.”
Fresh tears fell at the whispered words, and she shook her head. The slap to her inner thigh brought her head up, and her eyes flew open.
“Are you calling me a liar, girl?”
“No, I … I mean, sorry.” She mumbled the words, and she winced at the sharp tug to her hair, forcing her to follow where he led. One hand at the back of her neck, the other on her chin she had no choice but to look at herself in the full length mirror.
“What do you see, when you look at yourself?”
Cherie sought his eyes, pleading with him, but he simply increased the pressure on her neck to the point of pain. His eyes hard, unforgiving flint held a hint of his tiger, his expression murderous.
“Answer me, girl. I grow tired of waiting. You don’t want to add any more to the punishment you’ve already accumulated.”
Ink merely smiled, but his expression softened slightly when she started trembling; and he gentled his hold on her.
“I seem to recall you rather liked being punished, baby girl. Always pushing, always sassy.” He traced his thumb over her lips, demanding entry, and she opened automatically. His eyes darkened, and he groaned when she sucked the digit into her mouth. A tiny spark of power went through Cherie at his reaction, and he narrowed his eyes and withdrew his thumb immediately.
“Nice try, girl. Now answer me. What do you see?”
He sighed at her whispered, “I can’t,” and stepped away and behind her. Goosebumps erupted on her skin at the loss of contact, and she shivered anew. Their gazes connected in the mirror, and she breathed a sigh of relief when his hands settled back on her hips, pulling her back against him.
“Shall I tell you what I see?” He lifted her breast out of the way so that the deep wound was clearly visible in the mirror. “I see a woman who survived. A strong woman, who should wear her scars with pride. A woman with curves a man wants to get lost in. I see my woman.”
Friday, June 29: Living in Black and White – interview with Katherine Wyvern
In Katherine’s brand new release, White Sands, Ivory Blake is back in NeuVenedig, the city of the erotic Black Carnival, and this time she is not a tourist. As she finally begins to make it as an artist and settle in the local way of life, she is also trying to find again the man she has fallen in love with during the last Carnival, Lune. Belonging to an artificial breed striving for independence from the stifling laws of the Galactic Union, his life is however in danger, as the leaders of the liberation party die mysteriously one by one. Romance is easier and more carefree with Lune’s young companion, Laz’law, another acquaintance from the Carnival, and as his two young lovers try to understand the secret of Lune’s life, love, danger and lust bring them all ever closer together.
Welcome Katherine, to the Jean Journal’s Feature Artist Fridays and congratulations on your release! Besides ‘author’, what other 5 words describe you?
Creative, emotional, self-ironic, obsessive, shy.
Where do you currently call home, and do you have a ‘day job’?
I live in South West France in an enchanting region called Perigord. I have two part-time jobs, gardening and looking after holiday homes for home-owners who live abroad.
Tell us about the inspiration for your latest work. How long did you spend writing and what was your biggest challenge in getting it done?
White Sands was written between September 2011 and May 2012, with some long pauses in between. The biggest challenge was to keep writing during some difficult months in the winter when real life got in the ways of my muse.
Also, this is the sequel of my debut novel Black Carnival, and from a purely creative point of view, the most difficult part was to write about the same characters in the same world, and yet truly a different book, not just more of the same. I wanted White Sands to address some of the questions left unanswered in Black Carnival, like, what exactly are the Sand Riders? What is Lune up to? What is Cydonia like outside the Carnival and outside NeuVenedig? But I also wanted to set the basis for further stories, and leave some discreet openings here and there.
Yes, it’s a fine line between keeping your characters and setting consistent, yet allowing space for both to grow, isn’t it? What impresses you most in literature/art/music?
In art (be it writing, visual arts, or music) I look for emotions, soul, and beauty. I like complex, reflective art with different layers of meaning, but if something is all about meaning and message and morals, I can quickly lose interest. A painting must be beautiful per se; a book must be a pleasure to read, make me smile, cry and laugh. There is always something to learn in good art, but if it sets out to instruct or indoctrinate, then it’s not for me.
Also, I like art to have something original and fresh. Of course almost everything is to some degree derivative; that is not a bad thing but I enjoy seeing and reading things where the influence of the past is woven in something new and personal, something relevant and individual to the single artist.
I concur; Spoken like a true artist! What’s your next project?
I have a handful, actually. A couple of short stories that only need some polishing, a book of poems, and a long Fantasy Romance plot that needs to be written, as soon as I find a likely hero.
Heroes, please step forward.
And I don’t just write. I paint and embroider, too!
Where can fans reach you/see your work?
Katherine Wyvern on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katherinewyvern#!/katherinewyvern
Katherine’s Blog: http://katherinewyvern.blogspot.fr/?zx=c36def2d697da0f
Katherine Wyvern at Evernight: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/katherine-wyvern/
Katherine Wyvern on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Katherine-Wyvern/e/B006Z8DAYE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
What’s the best thing readers/fans can do to help you right now?
Read my books, like them, spread the word, write reviews with constructive feed-back! When you see those five stars beside the review box, click on the star closer to your right hand!
Please set up the scene for the excerpt we’re about to read.
The two characters in the scene are Ivory (the narrator) and Laz’law, whom she met in Black Carnival. In the last book they were friends and briefly lovers. In this one they are discovering that their friendship may lead to greater things, and right now they are getting swept off their feet by their first burst of renewed passion.
Thank you, Katherine, for visiting with us today! This excerpt from White Sands show us that sometimes, love can literally be black and white….
I swallowed painfully. He bent his head forward. The water ran down his neck and back, steamy hot now, and the whole misty, watery body-scape changed and shifted. He moaned in pleasure, and then opened his eyes to look at me.
“Are you coming?” he asked.
“Nearly,” I said, very faintly.
He grinned and put a hand out towards me; I stepped in with him and into his arms.
A thrill of absolute bliss shook me all over when our skins came together, with nothing in between but the thin sheet of hot water. I opened my lips to kiss his neck, and water flowed from his skin into my mouth, salty at first, and then sweeter and sweeter, as the last sweat was washed from his body. As his arms closed around me and his hands ran wetly along my back, I moaned and went limp against his body, pressing my cheek on his chest and just absorbing the heat of his skin, his muscular closeness, his always surprising tenderness, until the water running down from his chin into my hair flowed into my face, and I had to move to breathe. I put my arms around his neck, and we kissed, water mingling on our lips. It was as if our skins were melting into each other. I held his shoulders and kneaded the taut muscles on his back. I caressed up to his neck and held his face between my palms, stroking the tiny scales on his temples with my thumbs, brushing carefully over the silver studs in his eyebrow.
I wanted to tell him you are so beautiful, but I guessed he would know that already. “You are so beautiful,” I said anyway, because I could not keep it down. It just bubbled out of me between kisses.
He smiled and did not answer; he was too well aware of his looks to make demure noises, but not so arrogant as to preen and strut at the compliment. He just held me a bit tighter and kissed my neck, biting softly between kiss and kiss, sending a spike of hot desire into my belly. I moaned and rubbed my pelvis against his. His cock hung heavy between us, dark, utterly black now that it was wet, almost completely erect. He was too tall for me to rub my cleft on it, even when I stood on tip toe, lifting a knee up to wrap my leg around his side; he laughed softly and spread his legs wide to lower his crotch somewhat. His hands were on the small of my back, skimming on running water and shivering skin. I pressed my clitoris on his shaft, and it quivered and stiffened under my body. His teeth were almost hurting the flesh of my neck, but that was also good. I moaned again, rubbing my face on his wet shoulder and my nipples on his chest.
When his hand cupped one of my buttocks and squeezed hard and then pulled me even further up, almost lifting me from the floor, I held on to his shoulders and finally folded my other leg around his waist.
He held me up, easily enough. There are some advantages in being ridiculously small.
“If I slip now, we are toast,” he said, with an amused little grin.
“Don’t slip, then.” I spoke very softly into his ear, and then I pushed my tongue in it, which made him laugh and shiver.
I licked the wet convoluted shell of his ear and laid tiny quiet kisses on it until he turned to lay my back against the tiled wall of the shower and pinned me there with his chest, kissing me hard while our bodies searched for each other. It was a bit of blind hide-and-seek down there, without hands, and we were both giggling by the time his glans nudged its way inside me. But when I finally sank into his arms, down along the length of his shaft, we both stopped laughing and sighed heavily at the same time. I squeezed my muscles around him, feeling his once familiar and now newly discovered girth inside me. He made a sound not unlike a little, soft roar which made me almost laugh again, and I held his waist tighter with my legs, amazed by how naturally we seemed to fit into each other. There was no other thought in my mind at all in that moment, just wonder at his indescribable perfection.
His pelvis was rocking me against the wall, softly at first and then faster, and all around me and inside me was slick wetness, and warm hardness. Our mouths met again in kiss after hungry kiss, as he thrust deeper and deeper in me as my body opened to his. Then his neck folded sideways, softly, as if he had gone suddenly wholly limp, his cheek went to rest on my arm where I held on to his shoulders, and a long low wail escaped his parted lips.
I just looked into his face, taking in his abandon like a gift, while his hard member throbbed inside me, and yet another kind of wetness flowed between our joined bodies.
When I kissed his open mouth softly he barely stirred, lost to the world for a long, long moment. I was amazed that he would still hold me up so steadily.
Afterwards, as we stood together, rubbing soap onto each other’s skins, we exchanged tiny kisses, lips on lips. I painted pale, soapy spirals around his nipples, then turned him around and rubbed his muscular back with slick hands, until he leaned face to the wall wholly relaxed, moaning happily.
When he stood under the shower jet to rinse himself, lines of runny foam trailed white on the dark brown of his skin, emphasizing the lean volumes of his chest, belly and hips, the length of his haunches, following the lines of his thighs, and spiraling down along his calves like a creamy caress, like a stream of melting snow that touched his burning, luxuriant darkness for a fleeting moment, lovingly, and then was gone.
Friday, March 24: Cold Name, Warm Heart
Romance writer Winter Wells has found her new life with Hollywood Hottie, Cayden Cain, a blessing and a curse. He is the blessing. His career is the curse. Involved in an unprecedented web of strange events, and wound in a string of lies about to break with devastating consequences, Winter must battle ghosts from her past that threaten to harm Cayden. Faced with a choice she always knew would be inevitable, can the fairy tale of their relationship beat out the odds of their reality and really come true?
Such is the struggle in ‘ETERNAL,’ the final installment of The Heart of Winter series by the fabulous London St. James! Eternal releases on March 21, and all four books are available from Evernight Publisher. This series is best read in order, so be sure to collect all four!
Author London St. James is here with us today, so welcome, and thanks so much for joining us. Tell us more about yourself and Heart of Winter. Can you give us the high-level overview of the series, and the inspiration for the stories?
Well, I had this idea about a girl who didn’t have time for men. She had a skewed view of love due to her own parent’s horrible marriage. As well she has a skewed view of herself. We see her insecurities, her hopes, her heart, and her need to want to believe in love.
The first book starts to tell Winter’s story when she’s in college. She meets the perfect man when she wasn’t looking, and finds Austin to be what she never believed in— her soul mate. The rest of the books take you on a journey of Winter’s life, loss, love, all told through her point of view. There are some surprising twists along the way which takes this contemporary romantic series into more of a paranormal light.
My main inspiration was the idea of true love, soul mates, and can two people love each other so much that nothing can keep them apart. Not even death. I thought over the idea of soul transfer and I sat down and wrote a huge book, which turned into the 4-book continuing series The Heart Of Winter.
Eternal is rated as a heat level 3. Do you find your stories getting hotter the more you write them?
Yes. It seems to be a progression. But, the heat level goes along with the story and characters. I’m not writing a story for the heat level. I write the story and the heat level just works itself out.
You’ve been a published author for awhile now, when did you write your very first book and what was it about?
Actually I’m one of those people who always scribbled down stories. When I became more serious about trying to get published I started to research Publishing companies. I had written a short story with a BDSM twist, so when I saw a submission call for a BDSM anthology called Master of Mine from Evernight Publishing, I decided to submit it. I figured what’s the worst thing that could happen? I pondered it and imagined being told, “You suck as a writer.” I prepared for the worst, but thankfully that didn’t happen. Evernight liked my submission and offered me a place in the anthology.
I know what you mean — we all kind of cringe in anticipation of what the Publisher or Editor might say. So what’s ahead for London St. James, both personally and professionally? Future projects?
So many things have changed for me over the past two years that it seems a whirlwind both personally and professionally, and I don’t see my life slowing down any time soon. As far as future projects I do have a finished erotic novel. The working title: La Bonne Soeur (The Good Sister). I need the time to go over it, polish it, edit it, etc… I’m also working on a BDSM story for the naughty fairy tale line through Evernight. And I’m in collaboration with another author, working on a sci-fi series.
Wow, we’ll look forward to all those works. Can you set up the scene we’re about to read in your excerpt?
While Cayden has been on set in New York filming, reclusive romance writer Winter Wells’ real name has been revealed and plastered in the newspapers, along with details from her past, and her one-time finance who was killed years ago in a car crash (Austin). The press has brought up the fact that Cayden and Austin look eerily alike, and they are speculating there might be a relationship between Winter and Cayden. Of course Winter and Cayden have been doing everything they can to keep their relationship quiet. Cayden wants to protect Winter from his crazy life in the spotlight, and Winter has allowed the press to think she is dating Cayden’s older brother, Chandler Cain, in order to protect Cayden’s Hollywood image. Now she has found out that past threats had been made to a female co-star of Cayden’s when rumors of a relationship between him and his co-star were running rampant last year in the press. She is worried for Cayden’s safety. If the press can make a clear connection between her and Cayden, someone (perhaps a crazy fanatical fan) may threaten Cayden or try to harm him.
Thanks so much London, for stopping by today. Without further ado, here’s an excerpt from Eternal:
Wednesday evening had arrived, and I was standing on the balcony of my bedroom when it started to rain. I lifted my chin to the heavens, toward the dark night sky, and the cold drops hit my face, cheeks, lips, and hair. It didn’t take long before I was soaking wet. The ivory long sleeve shirt I wore was plastered to me, and my jeans were beginning to soak through, but I didn’t care. All I could think about was Cayden. How could I ever live without him?
In the distance of my mind, I heard Cayden’s voice calling out to me.
“What are you doing?” he asked. “Winter. It’s too cold. You are going to get sick.” Cayden’s arms encased me. He pulled me from the rain, into the warmth of the bedroom. He let loose of me and almost sprinted into the bathroom. I saw him pull one of the large fluffy white towels from the cabinet. He turned with a sense of urgency, and immediately came back to me. “What are you thinking?” Once he reached me, he unbuttoned my shirt, peeled it from my wet skin, and threw the soaked garment to the floor. Cayden whipped the towel out. It made a snapping sound before he wrapped the dry warm towel around me. “Winter, baby?”
Cayden stared at me. The expression upon his face, one of pain. He rubbed my arms with his hands as if the friction would warm the coldness I felt in my heart. It hit me. I wasn’t speaking.
“Sorry,” I said.
“Love, what were you doing standing in the cold rain?” He glanced down at my feet. “And you don’t have on any shoes.”
“I don’t know. I was just thinking. I guess I stopped paying attention.”
“Take those wet jeans off, too,” he instructed before he headed back into the bathroom for another towel.
I shed the jeans and left them in a wet lump in the middle of the floor.
“I love you,” I said when he came back.
He threw a new towel over my hair and started to rub it dry. “I love you, too. Tell me what is wrong?”
I placed my face to his chest, burying away my pain and taking in the scent of him. “Nothing is wrong.”
“Winter, tell me,” he pressed.
“Nothing, it’s nothing. I go a little crazy when you’re gone, but you are home now. We are together. That’s all that matters.”
“I have missed you,” he said. Cayden’s arms circled my waist and he picked me up from the floor. My feet dangled. “Do you know how much I hate to be away from you?”
“I know how much I hate being away from you.”
The towels fell to the carpet when I draped my arms around his strong neck and my legs around his perfectly tight waist, hooking my ankles behind his back. Cayden laughed his low musical laugh and brushed his nose into my hair. “I love how your hair smells. It’s like flowers and fruit, peaches.”
“I have missed you so much, Cayden.” I kissed him. It was a long time before I released him from my kiss.
Cayden’s eyes, silver-gray, flashed. “I think maybe you did miss me. But never bet it is as much as I have missed you,” he assured with his brilliant bright white smile.
I shivered. Whether from his eyes, words or touch I do not know, but probably from the combination of all of them.
“Cayden, make love to me.”
“You’re still cold,” he said. “Come on.” He carried me into the bathroom.
“I don’t care how cold I am. Please, make love to me.”
Cayden put me down. My bare feet felt the cool tiles beneath them. Cayden walked over to the stereo. He pulled back the glass wall panel and turned it on. He bent down, took off his black Adidas, and stripped off his socks. He placed them inside his shoes. With an underhanded toss, he threw the shoes out the bathroom door. They made a dull thud on the carpet in the other room when they landed.
There I stood. In the middle of the bathroom in my bra and panties, my hair tangled and wet, goose bumps covering my skin, mascara running down my cheeks, and probably looking pathetic, but I could not keep my eyes from Cayden. He turned on the steam and hot water in the shower. Placed his hands under the stream of water that was shooting down from overhead. He turned around, smiled tenderly, and closed the glass doors. The water hit the glass of the shower and mixed into the sound of the rain that pelted the roof. Everything melted into the music that played, becoming a symphony of rain.
“Please,” I said.
Cayden looked at me intently. He raked his penetrating gaze over my body. “I have every intention of making love to you, but I need to get you warm first.” His fingertips traced down my cheek, over the surface of my lips, down my throat then over my right shoulder. The warm water that was still on his hands trickled over the surface of my skin in every place he touched me. I trembled with his touch. Softly, he rubbed the mascara smudges from my cheeks.
“Cayden…,” I whispered.
“You are so utterly beautiful.” His lips skimmed over my shoulder, and his fingers made their way to the front of my bra. “I can’t believe how beautiful you are.” With dexterous skill, he unhooked the golden clasp, sending my bra sliding down the surface of my skin until it hit the tiled floor at my feet.
“Cayden, I need you,” I murmured against his chest.
“Baby,” he whispered against my neck. “You have me. You know I’m yours.”
Throwing myself into him, I wrapped my arms around his neck; my mouth frantically searched for his lips. We kissed with an aching in my soul. I wanted every part of Cayden to touch me. Needed to feel the exquisite sensation of his warm skin upon mine. Desperation surged through me. My hands slid down his shirt. Gripped it. Ripped the buttons free and exposed his flesh. The buttons bounced and tapped across the tiled floor. One pinged off the glass of the shower door. My anxious fingers explored the length of his stomach until I came to his jeans. I unbuttoned them, allowing my right hand to drift lower. Cayden was fevered and firm inside my hand.
Cayden picked me up again, his lips eager against mine, his mouth moving with my mouth as his breath, warm in my mouth, found its place. Cayden’s tongue tangled deeply with mine. He never let loose of my body, shedding his jeans by stepping on the bottom edge of his right pant leg, yanking his legs free.
“Cayden,” I moaned. I stroked his manhood. “I need you so much.”
“God,” he groaned.
Cayden fondled my waist, outlining the top of my panties with his fingers. He brushed so lightly over the canvas of my skin that it sent shivers over my entire body. His hand rested for a moment on my hip before tucking fingers into the top of my waistband. Cayden grabbed the material firmly.
“Do it,” I said, placing my mouth to his.
Great excerpt! Thanks for stopping by the Jean Journal, London, and best of luck with your latest release! Fans can learn more about London St. James on the web:
Evernight Publishing: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/pages/London-Saint-James.html
Heart of Winter and other books are available at:
Send London an Email: London@londonsaintjames.com
Friday, March 9: Interview with the Vampire (Scribe)!
Welcome Annalynne, and thanks for joining me on this important day! Besides ‘author’, what other 5 words describe you?
Wife, mother, kindergarten teacher, salsa dancer (sorry, I know that was 6 words)
You’re forgiven! Beyond the original fairy tale, tell us about the inspiration for “Rendezvous with Rumpelstiltskin.”
Rendezvous for Rumpelstiltskin is my second erotic novel released by Evernight Publisher. With the inundation of television shows such as Grimm and Once Upon a Time, I was intrigued with the idea of manipulating a traditional fairy tale into a taboo-filledtale of sexual titillation. If you like lots of kink (anal and ménage), you’ll LOVE Rendezvous with Rumpelstiltskin.
When you think about it, Rumpelstiltskin was a pretty kinky character to begin with — a freaky little dude with a penchant for firstborn children and a hobby in fibre-arts? Wow. Can’t wait to read what you’ve done with him! We all loved fairy tales as children, what are your personal tastes in books/art/music as a grown-up?
I’ve got pretty ecclectic tastes. As an avid reader and writer of all things paranormal, vampires and werewolves tend to pique my imagination, making their way into the pages of my manuscripts. In terms of music, I’m a product of the 80’s. I enjoy all genres, although some of my favorite musicians include Prince, Madonna, Pat Benatar, U2, Michael Jackson, The Bangles.
Now you’re speaking my language! (I loved the Knack, where’d those guys go?) What’s your next project?
I’ve got a few different projects going on at the same time. One is a vampire paranormal set in Egypt, tentatively titled Blood of the Nile. Another story will be the first in a four-part series featuring witches and warlocks.
Those sound fabulous. We wish you every success in your career, so what’s the best thing readers/fans can do for you right now?
Fans can certainly like my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Annalynne-Russo-Paranormal-Romance-Writer/143732329029457) and subscribe to my blog (http://vampirescribe.blogspot.com/). But the biggest compliment anyone could give me would be to purchase my book….Happy Reading!!
Congratulations, Annalynne on your new release! Folks, click here to buy your copy from Evernight Publisher, and don’t forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win a free e-edition, compliments of the author!
Here’s a delicious dollop from Rendezvous with Rumpelstiltskin:
A smile spread across the imp’s face, revealing a row of crooked, coffee-stained teeth. He stepped toward her, then faltered as if worried she might retreat. “Dry your eyes, my sweet, and sit down at the wheel. Let my hands guide yours, and together, we will make magic.”
“Fine. I’m desperate,” Katarina said. “I’ll do whatever it takes to earn my freedom. But what do you ask in return?”
The beast put a hand to his forehead and rubbed his temple. He tilted his head sideways and smiled at her. “Nothing. Other than the pleasure of your company,” he said. “A man like me doesn’t have many friends, let alone a beautiful woman to help pass the time.”
Katarina nodded in agreement and accepted his outstretched hand. As soon as their fingers touched, she felt an inconspicuous jolt of electricity ripple down the vertebrae in her back. Her eyes shot open in surprise. The imp drew back momentarily as if he endured a similar shock to his system. He motioned for her to take a seat, then moved to stand behind her. With her seated in the chair, they were almost the same height. He leaned into her. The warmth of his broad, muscular chest radiated through the translucent cotton shift she’d worn to bed. He flexed his fingers, using them to place Katarina’s delicate appendages along the spindles of the wheel. So close, his heated breath rolled across her skin, and sent shivers over the slender column of her neck in a series of tantalizing waves. The whisper-soft sensation caused goose bumps to form. Rather than pull away, Katarina let her body relax, enveloped in the beast’s feverish embrace.
He extended his arm, grabbed hold of the wheel, and spun it. Its clickety-clack sound reverberated around the room as it completed its first revolution. “Shut your eyes. Surrender all your inhibitions, and visualize what you want.”
Katarina groaned. She took a deep breath and laid her head against his well-defined bicep. What she wanted to do was lose herself in his comforting touch.Forget about the straw that blanketed the frigid concrete floor. Wipe away the memories of Aleksander’s brutality. Soon, the muscles in her back and shoulders relinquished their unwavering grip. She turned her head and took in her companion’s unique, earthy scent. Pine and sandalwood permeated her senses.
“Keep your eyes closed. Otherwise, the full force of the magic won’t take affect.”
Katarina heeded his warning. She allowed his talented digits to do their intricate work. The thin reeds of straw slid through their entwined fingers. Up and down. Over and under. In and out. She felt the rigid fibers give way, transformed into the smooth, silky fabric that cascaded down to the floor and pooled at her feet.
“Tell me your name, little man. Who is this knight in shining armor that sweeps me off my feet and saves the day?” Katarina felt him tense at her back. He stopped moving altogether.
“I’m sorry, my lady. I cannot tell you.” He rubbed his palms down her arms as if to calm her rattled nerves. Or maybe his own.
“Please. Call me, Katarina.”
“Katarina, it may not seem possible, but I haven’t always been the repugnant barbarian that appears before you. Once, I was a handsome man from a prosperous family living in a nearby village. Unfortunately, I cannot jeopardize my identity. If my parents discovered me in this condition, it would be a terrible disgrace.”
Katarina sighed and settled back against his bulky frame, her vision still masked. The sinewy muscles in his arms wrapped around her again as he returned to his work. They labored late into the night. Her fatigued body ached something fierce. Several hours later, she heard a rooster cackle somewhere nearby. The man behind her lifted his head and released the wire spindles on the spinning wheel.
He turned his head and whispered soft words that tickled her ear. “Katarina. Open your eyes and behold our masterpiece.” Her eyelids slowly drifted up, and to her amazement, a luxurious golden-hued textile was laid out like an elaborate carpet draped over the frozen stone tundra.
“It’s magnificent!” Katarina turned and threw her arms around his neck. The warm, exhilarating feel of his hulking form pulled tight against her pliant curves. His brawny biceps dangled over her torso and clung to her narrow, spiraled hips. He shifted his weight, and she felt the unmistakable proof of his desire. Katarina’s cheeks burned with embarrassment. She pivoted on the balls of her bare feet and pulled away. “I wish there was some way to repay you. There must be something with which I can tempt you.”
Her humble servant winked and shot her a devilish grin. “Be careful what you wish for. I might return one day and demand you turn over your first-born child.” Katarina’s eyebrows popped up, uncertain of his sincerity, until his robust laughter resounded in her ear. Then his expression turned serious. “Don’t worry, princess. In my current state, I can hardly swat at a fly, let alone abduct a child.”