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Guest Post: M. O’Keefe on Dark Romance and Sexbots

24 Jul

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Happy Monday Lady Smutters! I greet you from not-so-sunny Orlando where I am days away from the 2017 RWA national conference. Today, we have a real treat for you here. My friend, Molly O’Keefe, who also writes dark romance as M. O’Keefe, is visiting Lady Smut today to talk about bad sexbots, making sex integral to the character, and her journey through different genres of romance novels…getting ever sexier as she goes along. She also has 5 free copies of her book, Lost Without You, for 5 lucky commenters. Read on for more details.

Welcome Molly!

Guest Author Molly O’Keefe

This spring, I was asked by a reader why my latest books had gotten so dark, the content so sexual. It wasn’t a criticism, just a question. And I don’t think I gave her a clear answer, because honestly, I hadn’t thought about it. I was well-aware some of my books were darker than others, but had they all become so dark? Why was I drawn to these darker stories? This deeper sexual content?

I’ve been writing romance for nearly 20 years. I was very much a young woman when I started. I was 25-years-old and keenly aware of the fact that my mother would be reading my books. A few of my friend’s parents. My high school teachers! In terms of writing sex scenes–it was a very limiting mind set for me.  There was a lot of internal cringing while I wrote those early books. A lot of fretting about what would my mother think?

And frankly–I didn’t know how to write sex scenes. How to make them pivotal to character growth or plot development. I make a joke about it now, how I worried so much about creating fully-developed characters, but once they got into the sex scene they were like sex-bots. One dimensional and mechanical. Bad, in a word. Really bad sex robots.

Click on image to buy!

Then I found the books of Anne Calhoun and Cara McKenna and Charlotte Stein, and it felt like my world got blown open. Make the sex matter to the characters, make it difficult and fraught with tension and the sex becomes not just interesting but INTEGRAL. To read, yes, hopefully. That’s always the hope.

But to write! How fun, how deeply intriguing to dig into the characters through their feelings about sex. Their hang ups and their turn-ons. Writing Bad Neighbor, which in a lot of ways is just about a woman’s sexual awakening with a slightly dangerous next door neighbor, was one of my favorite writing experiences to date.

Everything I Left Unsaid, which is increasingly dirty phone sex for thousands of words, should have been harder than it was, but when each sexual experience unlocked something about my heroine, I’m not kidding, the book practically wrote itself.

Very few people are truly ambivalent about sex. Most people have some kind of negative or positive feeling about their past, their bodies, what they perceive to be dirty or shameful. About what they want sex to be. Or don’t want it to be.

For me these have become the questions that I ask my characters. That I try to answer in my books. Maybe it’s because I’m 40 now? And 40 is so much more liberating than 25? I’m not sure. But I feel like part of my interest in these stories is simply the product of growing up. Of seeing a wider world, understanding that very little is black and white, and that it is the gray areas that make life and stories interesting. Make us humans more human.

I like characters whose backs are against the wall and are making life-altering decisions. Bad decisions, maybe? But decisions about survival. About wanting more than they have. And being desperate for something better.  My new series–The Debt–is about five foster kids who save one of their own from their abusive foster father. But instead of going to prison, they find themselves indebted to a powerful man with mysterious motives. And no one knows if they’ve been given a second chance or a life sentence.

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In every single romance in this series, my characters are desperate for something. Truth. Love. Revenge. Redemption. And they make dangerous choices to get those things they want. Sometimes criminal, sometimes immoral, but never, ever, amoral. They do bad things and they know it and they wrestle with it.

The wrestling with it is what feels human to me. Feels interesting. Well, that and the sex.

So, how about you? Do you like your romances darker? Why or why not? What has been one of your favorite dark romances?

Molly O’Keefe is an award-winning author of over 30 romance novels. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her family and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America. Sign up for her newsletter to get release day news, exclusive excerpts, sale announcements and in-depth author interviews!  Found our more at http://www.molly-okeefe.com.

Now available exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, is a finalist for InD’Tale Magazine’s prestigious RONE award! Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

Lord of the Ropes

12 Jul

Shibari

Dear lovely people–A.C. Rose is with us again. Today she has an interview to share with us that she did with Morpheous aka Lord of the Ropes.

By A.C. Rose

What is it about ropes?

Some people think it is a little cray-cray to want to be willingly tied up. Others are anxious to try it. And there are those who attest to the sensual power of being tied up and vulnerable.

It’s fascinating to see how ropes are not just an integral part of BDSM play, and at-home sexy times, but have been elevated to an art form.

I reached out to Morpheous – that’s Lord Morpheous, to you – a sex educator, photographer, and kinkster based in New York and Toronto who knows the ropes when it comes to ropes. He is author of the new book, HOW TO BE KNOTTY: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MODERN ROPE BONDAGE. 

His book is a beautifully executed collection of images with how-to instructions that illustrate many creative ways to tie one on.

He also teaches rope safety in the book.

Morpheous has taught workshops and performed rope bondage around the world and is the founder of Morpheous’ Bondage Extravaganza, reportedly the world’s largest public rope bondage event.  His work is included in academic collections and museums, as well as published in a human sexuality textbook. He is also author of How to be Kinky: A Beginner’s Guide to BDSM and How to be Kinkier: More Adventures in Adult Playtime.

If you’ve ever wondered why ropes are such a big part of BDSM, read on.

A.C. ROSE: For those readers unfamiliar, what is rope bondage?

MORPHEOUS: Rope bondage is the practice of tying another person for the purposes of art, or sex, or sensuality; in fact, for whatever reason you and your partner do it! It comes under the umbrella as BDSM and is most often used as a communication between partners, a way of connecting in a sensual manner, of one partner handing control over to another. There is an artistic side though, and one that’s central to how most people do bondage.

A.C. ROSE: Do you have to be a professional to play with ropes or is there a safety course one should take before trying?

MORPHEOUS: You absolutely don’t need to be a professional to start exploring rope bondage, and while I’d always encourage people to have basic first aid training if they’re going to get into bondage (and, in fact, even if they’re not), you can learn everything you need to learn about safety as you learn the basics of bondage. I’ve written several books and each one of them covers bondage basics and basic bondage safety to a different extent. It’s all about communicating well, checking in often and having certain important bits of safety hardware on hand at all times.

A.C. ROSE: Why do you consider modern bondage both art and eroticism?

MORPHEOUS: The rope bondage that we know today is most often a fusion of both the Eastern and Western styles, and one has a more artistic bent while the other is more about restraint. My personal style is certainly a fusion of these two styles—with a creative twist of my own. While modern bondage is very much about restraint for sexual or sensory purposes, the shapes of the body, the shapes of the rope and the different materials used means that there’s an incredible art to it—not to mention to the process of tying itself. Watching a talented rigger tie their submissive is almost as sexual as being tied yourself. The fluidity of the movement, the lines, the patterns, the almost visible chemistry between the two…it’s nothing short of art.

A.C. ROSE: Many people find the idea of being tied up a scary because of the connotation of being tied up, yet some are drawn to it, and find it exciting.  What is the draw to those who like it?

MORPHEOUS: The draw is, I think, that very vulnerability that some people find scary. To hand yourself over completely to another person is very intense, and it’s that intensity that is at the heart of all BDSM play. Whether you’re being tied or being spanked or letting someone mess with your head, its all based on the trust that you have in that other person—which is why it’s also so important to only play with people who you can trust and who have proven themselves to be trustworthy.A.C. ROSE: When you are working with ropes, are you a master, artist, or hedonist?

MORPHEOUS: I’m all three! The hedonism comes from the thrill of the connection and of the process of bondage; at no point does your desire for sexual contact or the drive to master someone else overcome your consideration for their wellbeing. A good rigger (the person who ties someone else) always, always has safety and security at the forefront of their mind. But then domination of your partner and artistic creativity are also in there too.

A.C. ROSE: There are many different examples in How to Be Knotty. Do you have a favorite technique? And why.

MORPHEOUS: It would be impossible for me to pick a favorite tie or type of tie. My favorite knots and binds change according to who I’m tying and for what purpose. Sometimes you don’t want to engage in intense sex play but you want to feel connected to your partner; the ties that I choose at that point will be very different to the ties I choose for a hot and heavy session. It also changes according to the body type and limitations of your partner. For instance, some people are more flexible than others; some have larger muscles or body parts in certain places, and some just don’t like to have rope across their chests or between their legs or around their hands. The beauty of bondage is that it is so adaptable—and it’s so fun to play with!

A.C. ROSE: Can you explain what ‘sub space’ is and how people get there?

MORPHEOUS: Subspace is the mental space that some submissives reach when they are tied (or when they are otherwise engaged in BDSM play). In subspace you’re consumed by your immediate sensory experience; everything else seems to drop away, and you become serene in the space you’re in, your connection with your rigger front and center of your being. It’s a glorious place to be—although, much like with orgasm, some people find it much easier to reach than others and some might never achieve it.

A.C. ROSE: Once someone is tied, what are some of the pleasures that are administered? Anything goes?

MORPHEOUS: Absolutely not. “Anything goes” isn’t something that should ever be said of anyone engaged in BDSM play of any type. Everyone has boundaries, both physical and mental, and this is a conversation that should ALWAYS be had before you engage in any type of BDSM, especially bondage, and you should also both check in throughout play. You can be very much attracted to the idea of something in theory and then not that into it in reality, and in that case, play should always be stopped.

However, the range of potential pleasures is almost endless! Penetrative sex, non-penetrative sex, sensation play — spanking, playing with pegs, wax, ice, etc.—whatever your partner is into is likely to be heightened when they’re tied. And it’s always fun to find out what they like best!

A.C. ROSE: Is expert rope play one of the more sophisticated aspects of modern BDSM? Or is it just a normal part of the lifestyle?

MORPHEOUS: BDSM term is an umbrella term for many different types of play, and a lot of kinky folks aren’t into rope play at all. However, when you’re at expert level of anything, I would say you’re moving towards the more intense end of the spectrum. You don’t get to be a master at rope without putting in a lot of time, effort, learning and most likely budget too, and you wouldn’t do anything of that if you weren’t hugely passionate about it.

A.C. ROSE: What is it about rope … that makes it so erotic?

MORPHEOUS: Everything! For me, it’s the smell, it’s the feel, it’s the look of it, it’s the marks that rope leaves on skin, it’s the flexibility and malleability of the material, it’s the colour… and it’s what you get to do with it. There are lots of different types of rope and different materials that rope can be made from, and each one has a whole different atmosphere to it. Personally, I love the traditional textures of hemp and hessian, as these look incredibly retro and hardcore.

A.C. ROSE: Does your local hardware proprietor know what you use it for?

MORPHEOUS: I like to buy from particular artisans and local producers who definitely know what I’m using their wares for. However, I’ve been known to buy emergency gear at my local hardware store and I’ve been there enough and said enough things loudly that if he doesn’t know by now, I’d be surprised!

A.C. ROSE: Do you also like, and partake in, vanilla sex?

MORPHEOUS: Of course! You can’t be kink 24/7, and sometimes after a long week all I want to do is cuddle with my incredible wife and eat ice cream and watch movies and have “nice” sex. However that never lasts too long. J

Thank you to A.C. Rose and to Morpheous for sharing their thoughts on this delicious topic with us today. Here’s a link where you can order HOW TO BE KNOTTY: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MODERN ROPE BONDAGE. 

Click to buy.

A.C. Rose is a love, romance, and entertainment columnist and author of steamy romance books. Her Latest book is STAY AFTER CLASS

A super hot professor.
A beautiful student ready to swipe her V-card.
A gorgeous, naked art model.
The sketch that links them all.

Amanda Slade has a major crush on her sexy art professor and wants his help with an important extracurricular activity—losing her virginity.

Professor Jem Nichols knows falling for his beautiful student is a bad idea but he just can’t say goodbye as the semester ends. But the professor refuses to hastily take her virtue. Instead, he wants to slowly teach her the most important lessons of lovemaking.

By the time they’re done, he’ll know every inch of her body. But with the pressure building around his upcoming art show and her sexual debut, will Jem be the one to take her all the way?

School’s out, but the love affair is just beginning.

Find A.C. Rose on the web:

Website
http://acroseauthor.net/

Hot Romance column:  http://thethreetomatoes.com/category/love-sex/hot-romance

THE RED: Sexy Sunday Snippet by Tiffany Reisz

18 Jun

THE RED is a stand alone Erotic Fantasy Novel by Tiffany Reisz coming out on July 11th.  If you like this excerpt you may want to check out RADISH where the story is being serialized right now.

You want to know more, don’t you?  Read the excerpt below…

WARNING: This excerpt is *very* naughty.  Contains consent play & BDSM

It was near midnight when Mona returned to the gallery. She was eager to see Malcolm again, and even more eager to see what artwork she’d earn from his collection. At least she told herself all she cared about was earning the art, earning money to save The Red Gallery from foreclosure. That she enjoyed earning the money was beside the point. And yet, her step was quick and she’d spent half the day checking the clock.

It was time.

She went to the red door that led to the back room, took a steadying breath, and pushed it open. At once she was seized by rough male hands and dragged into the room. The door slammed behind her and she was pushed against it, her back to it. She tried to scream but a hand covered her mouth.

“Quiet, girl.”

The words came from Malcolm, though he did not look as he did when she’d last seen him. He’d grown a short beard and mustache, which made him look older, even slightly sinister. He held a rope in one hand. So it was to be role play? Very well. She’d given him carte blanche. Anything meant anything. She shouldn’t be shocked or afraid. But she was afraid. She was.

Because they weren’t alone.

With Malcolm’s hand over her mouth she glanced around the room wildly in her panic. Four men in suits stood waiting by a wooden box in the center of the room. All four men wore masquerade masks—one black, one gray, one red, one gold. They were cyphers in their masks, anonymous. Only Malcolm was unmasked.

“Is there a problem with the girl?” one of the men called out, the one in the red mask. His tone was imperious.

“Not at all,” Malcolm said. “I’ve got her.”

“Let’s see her then,” the man in the black mask said. He sounded bored, impatient. “We haven’t got all night.”

Who were these men? She couldn’t ask because Malcolm had ordered her into silence and his hand still covered her mouth.

“Coming,” Malcolm said. “You won’t be disappointed.”

He spun her without warning, turning her back to him. He put his mouth at her ear and whispered, “Do not fight me, girl. Put on a good show. I want a high price for you.”

A good show… He’d told her last time she existed to entertain him. So be it. She nodded and said nothing, though her heart still raced with terror. Would he let all these men fuck her? No. She knew he wouldn’t.

Or did she?

He took her by the arms and pulled her away from the door. He walked behind her, steering her to the center of the room where the four masked men waited. She tried to study their faces but only one lamp was lit, and they were all in shadows. Only the colors of their masks could be clearly seen. She looked at the floor instead.

“On the box,” Malcolm ordered and she stepped up onto the low wooden platform. Malcolm bent and pulled her shoes from her feet, tossing them into the shadows. He stood and mounted the platform behind her.

“Let’s have a look,” the man in the gold mask said and the other masked men nodded their heads in agreement.

Behind her, Malcolm dragged the straps of her purple summer dress down her arms. She wore no bra and she had to force herself not to fight him as he pushed her dress down and let it pool at her feet. In an instant he had a small sharp knife out and he used the blade to cut her panties off her hips and those he tossed into the shadows with her shoes.

She was naked, completely naked, and standing in front of four strange men. Malcolm produced a rope from his jacket pocket and used it to tie her hands in front of her. Then he reached high and she looked up. He’d hung a metal hook from a ceiling beam. With a swift and easy motion that showed he’d done this sort of thing a thousand times before, Malcolm hoisted her hands over her head and secured the ropes on her wrists to the hook.

There was no escape.

Mona wiggled her hands and the men chuckled at the sight of her struggles.

“Here we are, gentlemen,” Malcolm said. “Tonight’s best lot. Take your time. Bid high. She’s worth it.”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” the man in the red mask said as he stepped up onto the wooden platform. Malcolm stood behind her, holding her hair in his hand. Mona panted in fear and anticipation. The red-masked man placed his hand on her quivering stomach and stroked her side and hips.

“Very smooth skin,” he said.

“The smoothest you’ll find on the market,” Malcolm said.

The red-masked man took a hard handful of her thigh and gripped it, slapped it. The men watching laughed again.

“The breasts are particularly fine,” Malcolm said. “As you see.”

“I see,” the red-masked man said.

“I don’t,” said another man.

“Then come see for yourself,” Malcolm ordered.

The man in the red mask stepped off the platform and the man in the gold mask stepped on. Without hesitation he groped her right breast with a large strong hand. Mona cried out more in shock than pain. With her hands tied so high, her breasts were exposed and she couldn’t cover them in any way. It was stunning to be touched so intimately by a stranger. He lifted the breast as if to weigh it in his palm, then he pulled the nipple, twisting it a little, teasing and testing it.

“Very nice,” the gold-masked man said, nodding. He shifted to the side and did the same to her left breast. He groped it firmly, squeezed it, lifted and weighed it, before pinching the nipple again, tugging it, and letting it go. “How’s the ass?”

“See for yourself.” Malcolm turned her so that her back was to the gold-masked man. She felt a hand on her backside, rubbing her from her hip to her upper thigh.

“A full ass,” the man said, pleased, as he rubbed. “Soft but not too soft.” He slapped it once and Mona gasped, gasped again when he gripped it in both hands and squeezed it, then pinched it. “Young firm flesh. My favorite.”

“I told you she was worth the money,” Malcolm said.

It was unbearable, being treated like this, treated like chattel. She burned hot with shame and humiliation. Tears stung her eyes. Her breathing was labored and her arms ached. She wanted to cover herself so badly.

“We have to see the cunt first,” another man said. “You know that.”

“Of course,” Malcolm said, laughing. “Of course you have to see the cunt.”

“Let’s see it then.”

Mona groaned as Malcolm turned her to face the four men again. Two of them stepped onto the platform, the man in the black mask and the man in the red mask. Each of them took one of her legs in his hands and hoisted her off her feet. They held her thighs open, her feet dangling helplessly in mid-air, her sex open and exposed. The man in the gray mask stepped forward. He didn’t stand on the platform. He was at eye level with her vulva.

She shivered and moaned as the man in the gray mask extended his hand and lightly touched her pubic lips.

“Exquisite,” he said. “Well-formed.”

“Tight too,” Malcolm said. “But she can take anything you want to give her.”

She saw the hint of a smile on the gray mask’s lips. With his thumb and forefinger, he opened the inner folds of her vulva, revealing the hole, the entrance to her body. He slipped one finger into it.

“And wet. Very wet,” the man in the gray mask said. It was true. Humiliating but true. For all her shame and fear, she was undeniably aroused as well. The man inserted a second finger into her and spread the two fingers wide in a V. She felt herself opening. It was a violation of the sanctity of her body. Why did she relish it?

“What have we here…” the man said as he pushed his fingertip into a deep hollow inside her, near the pubic bone. He pushed hard into the hollow, poked the hollow, prodded at it, teased the delicate dancing nerves. “I can feel her pulse right here. Very rapid.”

“Let me feel it,” the man in the gold mask said. She was empty again but only for a moment, as the gold-masked man put his finger into her and found that same little hollow along the back wall. Her head fell back onto Malcolm’s shoulder as the man in the gold man fingered and fondled her while she hung in the air, spread out and on display. The man in the gold mask examined her clitoris as well, kneeling in front of her and pulling up the tiny hood of flesh to see the organ. It was swollen and she hated herself for that. She hated it all, hated being held, being opened, being examined and displayed…

Oh, but she loved it too.

As the man in the gold mask continued to spread out and probe her sex, the man in the black mask turned his attention to her mouth. She struggled against Malcolm’s shoulder as the man pried her lips apart.

“Don’t bite,” he chided as he stuck a finger into her mouth. She felt it against her teeth. He was counting them, she could tell. But when he was done, he left his finger pressed lightly against her tongue. Now they’d made her mute. A hand that belonged to someone, she didn’t know which man, grasped her breast again and cupped it roughly. A hot mouth latched onto her other nipple and sucked it hard. The fingers worked inside her sex, stroking and rubbing and opening her up wider and wider. She heard the sounds of her own intense wetness. Her labia were pulled and tugged like her nipples, lightly slapped before he, whoever it was this time, pushed his fingers into her again. Three fingers this time, or was it four? She couldn’t tell anymore. She was dripping with need. Five men and their mouths and their hands were all together touching her, fondling her, sucking her and penetrating her mouth and her sex as she writhed and moaned softly, unable to protest or cry out or beg for mercy or—even worse and far more likely—begged them to fuck her. She craved their cocks, all five of them. Before, she’d feared Malcolm would let them fuck her. Now she feared he wouldn’t. But these were mad thoughts. She couldn’t let that happen. She struggled in the iron grasp of the five men, but it did no good, only harm, as the writhing brought her even closer to climax.

Then they all let her go.

It happened so fast, she would have fallen to the floor if the rope hadn’t held her wrists. They released her and stepped off the platform as if someone had given a command she hadn’t heard. She shivered, suddenly cold. Only Malcolm still stood close. She wanted to press her body into his, but he had her by the waist, holding her in place.

“Well, gentlemen, any other requests?” Malcolm asked. “Are we ready to start the bidding yet?”

She braced herself for the haggling. What were they buying? The right to fuck her? Or was it still part of the game?

“Bend her over,” one of the men said. “Let’s see all her holes.”

“If you insist,” Malcolm said.

“I want to know exactly what I’m getting,” the man in the red mask said. “If it’s no trouble.”

“I admire a savvy buyer. And no,” Malcolm said. “No trouble at all. I’ll put her on the pedestal.”

“Very good,” the red-masked man said. The other three men murmured their assent.

Pedestal? What sort of pedestal? Malcolm dragged her off the wooden platform and into the shadows. The light followed as one of the men lifted the floor candle and carried it over to the far corner of the room where Malcolm was taking her. She saw something there, something waist high and covered with a large velvet cloth. Malcolm pulled off the cloth and dropped it to the floor. It was a black leather stool of sorts, but wide enough for her to kneel upon easily. Jutting up from the center of the seat was a large thick phallus, smooth black leather and terrifyingly long—a foot long at least. She shrank from the sight of it, but Malcolm didn’t allow her to flee. He lifted her off her feet and placed her on the top of the pedestal. He took her hips and angled them so that the tip of the phallus kissed the entrance of her hole.

“Take it,” he said, an order she couldn’t refuse. Her body wouldn’t let her. She went down onto her hands and knees and sank onto the phallus, sliding her knees apart and taking as much of it into her as she could. As wet as she was, the massive object went into her easily and she rocked on it a little to take even more. She felt the muscles giving way to the phallus, accepting it, engulfing it. Malcolm had her pinned like a moth under glass. Pinned and put on display.

“Gentlemen, have a look,” Malcolm said. “I have oil here if you need it.”

The consummate salesman.

Mona hung her head, hiding her face behind her hair as the first man whose face she couldn’t see in this position came behind her and spread her buttocks apart. He made a pleased sound like he liked what he saw. He touched her with a finger and she gasped and shuddered. The fingertip was wet, covered in some sort of thick oil or lubricant. He slicked it all over the little hole, all around it. She tingled at the unusual sensation. It wasn’t unpleasant being caressed there on that sensitive opening, wasn’t unpleasant when the man slid a single finger into her as far as his finger could go. He held the finger in her, not moving it for a long time. She heard the men talking among themselves, saying things like “Very nice” and “Well done.” Inside her she felt the man moving his finger, not in and out, but around in a circle, opening her ever more and more.

“You have a plug?” the man asked Malcolm.

“Of course,” Malcolm said.

The finger left her but she soon felt something cold against her, cold and smooth like another phallus but far narrower than the one inside her sex. The man wielding it pushed the tip into her, paused, then pushed it in a few inches more as Mona let out a tense hiss between her teeth. Never before had a lover put anything into her ass—not a finger, not a phallus, not a cock. Yet here it was, going in as if it was made for her body. The man slid it in to the hilt and stopped. The base of the plug would let it go no deeper. Soft moans escaped her lips as Mona’s body adjusted itself to being doubly penetrated on the pedestal. She rocked back and forth, fucking herself with the phallus inside her vagina as the four prospective “buyers” walked around her. One stroked her hair, lifted it and sniffed it. Another stood by her face and took her nipples between his fingers and lightly pulled them. His fingers were cold and sent currents of electricity through her breasts and back. Another man played with her clitoris. His fingertip was wet with the oil as he stroked her. The last man rubbed her buttocks, caressing them lightly but over and over again. Sometimes he would pause to touch the plug or the phallus between caresses.

“Now, gentlemen,” Malcolm began, “let’s start the bidding, shall we?”

“I’ll take her for a hundred,” the man in the red mask said. A hundred dollars? A hundred thousand? A hundred days?

“Anyone wish to counter-offer?” Malcolm asked.

“Too rich for my blood,” the man in the gold mask said. He pinched her nipples again and she flinched as her sex contracted around the phallus.

“Mine too, I’m afraid,” said another man. He slapped her thigh lightly as if saying goodbye to prize horseflesh.

“I’d love to take her,” the last man said. “But I promised myself I wouldn’t spend more than eighty.”

“Then I think we have a deal, my good sir,” Malcolm said. The man in the red mask had been the one fondling her clitoris. Through the veil of her hair she saw him and Malcolm shaking hands. They moved out of her eye line, stood behind her. “Shall I take her off the pedestal for you?”

“No,” the man in the red mask said. “Leave her there. I’ll handle it.”

She heard footsteps, the door opening and closing, but she was certain the man in the red mask hadn’t left her because she felt his finger on her clitoris again. And then on her labia split wide by the huge phallus penetrating her.

“Magnificent,” he said. “Worth every penny.”

He took her hips in his hands and pushed her down, forcing her to take more of the phallus. Her head came up and she moaned with need. She could barely see. Everything was red. The blood behind her eyes, the blaze of her desire, the engorged flesh of her sex, all red, red everything everywhere, red as the man’s mask, the man who owned her. He lifted her up and off the pedestal and put her on her feet. He’d opened his black suit pants and his cock was out, erect and glistening with fluid at the engorged red tip. She had to have it inside her. She had to. She reached for it but he caught her hands, pushed her back into the wall and held her wrists over her head. Desperate, she thrust her hips forward to rub against him. Every move she made sent wild tremors through her body. The plug was deep in her ass still and she wanted it there. But she needed his cock inside her too. Needed it more than anything.

He guided the tip to graze her painfully swollen clitoris and she cried out. With one quick pump of his hips, he pushed the tip through the folds of her labia. With one more pump he penetrated her and with a final pump he entered her entirely. She came off her feet as he lifted her with his hips and pinned her again, this time against the wall. Her breasts bounced as his thrusts lifted her and lifted her. She was nearly screaming in her ecstasy, out of her mind with her pleasure. It felt like she had a rod of iron inside her, as thick, as hot, and as hard as anything could be. She didn’t know this man at all but he owned her. He’d bought her body and now he owned her. She was his slave, his possession, chattel, an object, his to do with as he willed. And what he willed was to fuck her against the wall, ram himself deep into her, pound her and pound her until she came with an unholy moan. Her head fell back against the wall and the man in the red mask kissed her neck, sucking the skin there until she felt it break against his teeth. She didn’t care. The pain spiked the pleasure. The plug in her ass and the cock in her pussy magnified the orgasm a hundred times. His thrusts were relentless. The man in the mask rammed her once more, twice more, a third time and then she felt the burning seed explode inside her so deep she could swear she could taste it on her tongue.

Mona went limp, but she was still impaled on the man’s penis, her feet twined around his thighs, her back pressed to the wall. She rested her head on his shoulder and breathed. Who was this man who’d bought her? What would he do with her? What had she given herself over to? It was wrong, all wrong. She shouldn’t be having sex with this stranger, this cypher, this ghost. She put her hands on his chest to push him away.

“Put me down,” she said.

“Not yet.”

“No, now,” she said though he remained inside her, still hard.

“Carte blanche,” the man in the red mask said.

“That’s for Malcolm, not—”

The man took off his mask. It was Malcolm.

“I told you I liked to play games sometimes,” he said with that smile he stole from the devil. “Didn’t I?”

“Malcolm…” She stared at him in shock and in horror, still pinned to the wall. “You had a beard.”

“Did I?” he asked, lifting his eyebrow.

“You did. Was it…It had to be a fake. You fooled me. I was so sure…” The four men were likely friends of his and when they’d haggled behind her back, Malcolm had taken off his false beard and put on the red mask to trick her. And she’d been tricked, thoroughly tricked.

“You saw what I wanted you to see,” he said. “The oldest magician’s trick.”

“Is this a trick too?” She struggled to free herself from the organ that penetrated her and his body that trapped her against the wall.

“Oh no, this is real,” he said. “This is the only thing that’s real to me.”

What’s Your Name, Princess?

8 Jun

 

WICKED APPRENTICE – Your perfect summer fantasy read.  Only .99 cents.

ONE LINK TO RULE THEM ALL: https://books2read.com/u/4DAgNd

“What’s your name?” She asked, nervous. She had to get his name and go. She was in over his head.

“But you haven’t even told me yours, Princess,” he said in his quiet voice. She gave a little curtsey in response.

“I know not. Hulgetta has taken it from me.”

Her name and her tears were the fee Hulgetta demanded in exchange for learning magic—and a bargain at twice the price.

“Hulgetta? her magic is cruel then.”

He looked at her as if dazzled. The way he said the world cruel and the look he gave her, it was as if he was really saying that she was the cruel one, not Hulgetta.

She smoothed the front of her dress, feeling all feminine and cruel. She wished she’d laced her bodice tighter. He lay there enticing, helpless, and yet a corner of her mind still pricked with the need for caution.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

Red As Blood: Women & Gothic Romance

1 Jun

Lovely readers — I attended a panel at #WisCon that made me cry out with perverse desire.  It was called Red As Blood — a panel on women and the Gothic genre.  Loosely organized, it revolved around the interesting desires and situations that comprise Gothic joy and perversity.

“A young woman meets an interesting, mysterious man in a giant, lonely house.  It turns out he may have bad intentions.  Sometimes she wants him to have bad intentions.”–Emily Cataneo.

What I liked about this panel was that everyone on the panel–authors and fans alike, really obsessed over what I obsessed over, and had exactly the same attitudes that I had. Everyone on the panel was raving over Crimson Peak–especially Tom Hiddleston, especially the house and clothes — AND

Spoiler Alert!

…especially the end where two women fight it out with knives in bloody nightgowns.

Everyone didn’t care if there was no logical reasoning behind certain events in their favorite Gothic novels or movies.  Our love of Gothic is not about reason.

Then what is it about? It’s about a feeling of creeping doom, of impending horror.  But no ACTUAL horror, mind you.  If horror is that moment of curdling screams and blood splatter on the wall, then the gothic genre is about hearing that scream from a far distance and discovering the blood splatter on the wall by prying open a secret passage.  (Preferably 5 to 20 years after it got there.)

The gothic genre is about secrets.  About dread.  About creeping horror — yes! But it’s a psychological horror.

Notorious is supremely logical–but the sense of oppression is still intense.

Now let’s talk romance in these novels.  For my joys I hit the Goodreads best Gothic romances page. There you will find not only the old classic authors like Anne Radcliffe and Victoria Holt but also Gay Gothic Romances, and Gothic romances with witches!!!!

Now, when we turn to Gothic film, the problem is that they are often horror films and take things just a leeeetle too far for my taste. Sigh.  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about gothic romantic films:

The Gothic romance film is a Gothic film with feminine appeal. Diane Waldman wrote in Cinema Journal that Gothic films in general “permitted the articulation of feminine fear, anger, and distrust of the patriarchal order” and that such films during World War II and afterward “place an unusual emphasis on the affirmation of feminine perception, interpretation, and lived experience”. Between 1940 and 1948, the Gothic romance film was prevalent in Hollywood, being produced by well-known directors and actors. The best-known films of the era were Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), and Gaslight (1944). Less well-known films were Undercurrent (1946) and Sleep, My Love (1948). Waldman describes these films’ Gothic rubric: “A young inexperienced woman meets a handsome older man to whom she is alternately attracted and repelled.”[1] Other films from the decade include The Enchanted Cottage (1945) and The Heiress (1949).[2]

The Gothic romance films from the 1940s often contain the “Bluebeard motif”, meaning that in the typical setting of the house, a certain part is either forbidden to be used or even closed off entirely.[3] In the films, the forbidden room is a metaphor for the heroine’s repressed experience, and opening the room is a cathartic moment in the film.[4] In addition, the layout of the house in such films (as well as Gothic novels) creates “spatial disorientation [that] causes fear and an uncanny restlessness”.[5]

In 2015, director Guillermo del Toro released the Gothic romance film Crimson Peak. He said past films had been “brilliantly written by women and then rendered into films by male directors who reduce the potency of the female characters”. For Crimson Peak, he sought to reverse this cinematic trope.[6]

And did he EVER! If you adored Crimson Peak then here are some treats for you.  Here’s my fun review of Crimson Peak for one, along with some other movie recommendations below.  First of all, I highly recommend Suspicion–a Cinderella story in which we and the heroine are gradually brought to realize that a) she’s no Cinderella and b) this is not a happily ever after.

But if you want to get your gothic horror movie on–here’s a list from Indiewire to check out.  Some of them are fabulous.  Rosemary’s Baby is excellent.  Picnic at Hanging Rock is really mysterious. It’s like the missing girls floated off into some alternative realm after enough feminine corset squeezing and hair braiding to last a lifetime.  Gaslight is excellent.  As I mentioned above, Suspicion is one of my all time favorites.  The Shining is fabulous — but something I’d put on while doing another task so I could walk away as needed…(I’d put the premise of The Shining this way: What’s the scariest monster of the 70’s? The absent dad figure suddenly returned to be a ‘part of the family’.  Shiver. Ugggggggh!) Les Diaboliques was good, Notorius is sublime.  This list also made me want to see The Haunted with Kate Beckinsale as well as The Tomb of Ligeia…

THE GOTHIC ANTI-HERO OF ALL TIME? It’s gotta be Micheal Fassbender.  As I’ve commented before, Fassy seems to be all alone in his films.  That alone-ness is exactly what we want in a gothic anything. In the latest-greatest remake of Jane Eyre, he is utterly riveting.  At once flesh and blood with his long mutton chop whiskers, he seems like a Victorian that doesn’t wash everyday, that sweats, that chews his food. There is something very real and authentic about him–especially when it comes to his presence around women. Nevertheless, for all that he still seems like a very quietly haunted man who will NEVER be happy.  What I realized watching his performance is that Jane Eyre is a tale of warning: don’t fall for the man you work for.  Don’t let him seduce you.  Don’t succumb to the temptations he leads you towards breadcrumb of attention by breadcrumb of attention.  He has bad intentions and nothing good for you will result.  Fassy’s breathtaking performance is a seduction: rather slow and tender, but also deliberate enough to make one realize how wrong it all is.  His inscrutable mind is clicking behind the command of his words, looks, and touches the entire time.

Tom Hiddleston is an incredibly close second for my all time fav goth anti-hero.  His charismatic flavor however, connotes the possibility of a happier ending. If Fassy is the haunted man in his giant spooky house at the beginning of the movie, then Hiddles represents that peek of sunshine, that thin slice of spring — expressed only by a few blades of grass and one lone daffodil at the end of the movie.  There is something a little softer and more pliant about Hiddles the lover. He represents hope and escape from psychological hell into some sunnier, more mild and quietly happy place.  Tom seems like a man who needs an other to pair with him.  While Fassy, a more coporeal lover in the moment of temptation, perhaps–seems to stand alone in his blank emptiness to the bitter end.

I see Tom as more of an HEA guy–even if the HEA is with his sister.

What do you think, readers? Sound out below in the comments section — and I’m all ears for good contemporary gothic romance reading rec’s.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

Guess the Lady Smut TBR Stack–Win $10 Amazon Gift Card!

4 May

Hi RT Orphans! Does your TBR pile have some of the same titles as ours? Let us know–leave us a comment below. 🙂 Want to buy the book on our TBR list? Click the link.  Meanwhile, here’s another fun game you can play at home.

FIRST Read the TBR lists. THEN guess which list belongs to which blogger. Your blogger choices are below & we’ve abbreviated the longer names for you. We also provided some hints.  THE FINAL STEP IS TO email us at LadySmutBlog@gmail.com with your guesses. The first reader to email us the most correct answers wins a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

CONTEST ENDS FRIDAY MAY 5th AT 12PM PST!!!!!

OUR BLOGGERS:

Elizabeth Shore

G.G. Andrew

Kiersten Hallie Krum (KHK)

Alexa Day

Rachel Kramer Bussel (RKB)

Elizabeth SaFleur (ESF)

Isabelle Drake

Thien-Kim Lam (TKL)

Madeline Iva

Ready to play? Here we go——

Lady Smut TBR List #1

Hint: This blogger is a foodie who loves diverse romances & sex toys

  1. Alpha by Jasinda Wilder
  2. Nine Kinds of Naughty by Jeanette Grey
  3. The Muse by Anne Calhoun
  4. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
  5. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

Lady Smut TBR List #2

Hint: This blogger likes to share all after a few dirty dates. ; > 
  1. The Pawn by Skye Warren
  2. Trophy Wife by Alessandra Torre
  3. The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke
  4. An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
  5. The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

Lady Smut TBR List #3

Hint: This blogger is a big fan of New Adult romances, secrets, and other crazy, sexy topics.

  1. Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
  2. Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole
  3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  4. Deadly Testimony by Piper Drake
  5. Ghostland: An American History of Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Lady Smut TBR List #4

Hint: This erotica author loves blogging about TWD, kidnapping & a few other illicit topics.

  1. Truly Helpless by Joey W. Hill
  2. All the Lies We Tell by Megan Hart
  3. Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Chorderlos de Laclos
  4. Slow Surrender by Cecilia Tan
  5. The Infamous Miss Rodriguez by Lydia San Andres

Lady Smut TBR List #5

Hint: This blogger is wild about reviewing her fav authors.

  1. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
  2. The List by Tawna Fenske
  3. Madly by Ruthie Knox
  4. Beyond Doubt by Kit Rocha
  5. Edge of Ruin (set of 3 Viking Dystopian Novellas) by Megan Crane

Lady Smut TBR List #6

Hint: This author blogs about edgy topics of desire including: swallowing, tattooing, cross-dressing–even Jewish Swingers. 

  1. Purity by Jonathan Franzen
  2. The Fireman by Joe Hill
  3. Finders Keepers by Stephen King
  4. The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose
  5. Beyond Ruin by Kit Rocha

Lady Smut TBR List #7

Hint: When this author wasn’t all tied up, she’s blogged about CW’s Riverdale.

  1. Lilith’s Brood by Octavia E. Butler
  2. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
  3. DC Comics Bombshells: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett & Marguerite Sauvage
  4. Initiates of the Blood by Cecilia Tan
  5. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Lady Smut TBR List #8

Hint: This blogger is a capital BDSM Erom author

  1. Bombshell by CD Reiss
  2. Truly Helpless by Joey W. Hill
  3. Royally Matched by Emma Chase
  4. The Chosen by J.R. Ward
  5. The List by Anne Calhoun

Lady Smut TBR List #9

Hint: This author loves blogging about wicked villains & paranormal television shows.

  1. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  2. The Unlikeable Demon Hunter by Deborah Wilde
  3. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  4. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
  5. A Darker Shade of Magic V.E. Schwab
Send off those answers and follow us at Lady Smut. If you want to know the about the latest fun when it comes to sex, romance books, and pop culture–we won’t leave you guessing.
Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

This is Not Why We Need Diverse Romance–but it Sure Helps

24 Apr

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

There are a lot of reasons why #WeNeedDiverseRomance. We here at Lady Smut have discussed aspects of diverse romance regularly, whether it’s Alexa Day discussing the racial- and feminist-line blurring TV show Pitch or her examination of interracial romance through history or Thien-Kim Lam’s talking about #OwnVoices during #ReadHotter month, or my own look at the women who make America great, including the former first lady and the first Latina senator elected to office. Then there was Elizabeth Shore’s interview with Vikkas Bhardwaj who’s burning up romance covers and not only those covers with Indian or dark-skinned heroes. He’s challenging the need for white-washed heroes on romance covers regardless of the hero’s description on the pages inside. And we thank him for that. Oh do we ever.

We work to be a fuller, more rounded representative community here and not only when it comes to sexuality. I thought of that earlier today while trolling through Facebook (as one does on a Sunday afternoon) when I caught romance writer Zoe York’s post of a link to this delicious feature:

Gorgeous Asian Hunks Wearing Only Iconic Costumes Will Make You Thirsty AF

Well now, thought I, here’s my Lady Smut post for tomorrow.

Why yes, please do tell me more.

Whether they’re shirtless food vendors from Malaysia or smoking hot firefighters in Taiwan hosing themselves down with water, we here at NextShark can appreciate a hunky Asian man.

Thai portfolio service SKiiNMODE takes sexy snapshots that combine Asian culture with some of the continent’s most attractive guys, RocketNews24 noted.

Um, gulp.

Now, I myself, personally, am not a huge fangrrl of Asian cultural. I don’t like Asian food, or more accurately, my body doesn’t like it, and I seriously dislike anime. My cultural jones is firmly Celt and  British situated, for the most part. Thankfully, food and anime are only two minor aspects of Asian culture. There’s a ton of things to explore as with any culture, and I readily admit that samuri and geisha history fascinate me. I’m also fond of a great deal of Asian artwork and architecture.

Click on image to buy!

My romantic suspense addiction is likewise intrigued by the whole mafia/Yakuza genre. Criminal clubs/gangs/societies trip my trigger, I won’t lie, which helps explain my MC romance addiction. One of the things I loved about Anne Stuart’s fantastic dark romance, ICE series (which, if you haven’t yet, you must read–in fact, I just interrupted writing this post to one-click the hell outta the series and I already have every single book on my bookshelf in paperback) is her Asian bad ass heroes. Fire and Ice, book five of the series, has a defrocked Yakuza hero and takes place entirely in Japan, a culture of which the author is an admitted devotee. Stuart doesn’t take the tourist angle here either. Pursued by the bad guys, the hero and heroine go outside Tokoyo into the nitty-gritty aspects of Japanese society you can’t find on the NatGeo channel or with hours of devotion to Mortal Combat or Bruce Lee movies. I was just as intrigued by the Japanese culture Stuart utilized as I was by the story.

But holy hotness, SKiiNMODE. I think you just broke me.

Any of these chiseled examples of male perfection could easily storm the heart and attitude of the sassiest romance heroine regardless of cultural association on either person’s part. SKiNMODE also features gender-bending ideas for Ghost in the Shell geisha assassins and a male Elektra that would revive that sad franchise with one steely look. And who knew Power Rangers could exude so much sizzling sexuality. Morph me.

You can follow SKiNMODE on Instagram and Facebook and, bless them, there’s even a Tumblr page that gives a whole new meaning to NSFW.

You can thank me later.

Don’t forget that we’re going to be at RT this year.

Follow Lady Smut. We’ll happily morph all your cultural jones.

It’s coming fast. No, not the virgin heroine’s first orgasm. Rather, the Lady Smut big RT event is less than two weeks away! Join LadySmut bloggers at the RT Booklovers Convention May 3-7, especially at our super special reader event – Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever. Win crowns, fetish toys, books and more! Goodybags to first 100 people in line! Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30.

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, is now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum

Exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

Fantasizing About The Hot Villain: Women as Hunters

20 Apr

by Madeline Iva

Who here sees a movie and winds up fantasizing later on about the hot villain? Raising my hand. WHY is my question. Why aren’t we fantasizing about the hot hero? (I mean, maybe we are. Sometimes.) Last week I talked about the hot villain being redeemed all the way into becoming an anti-hero. Here is another post about how we are bitten by the compulsion to use a hot villain as fantasy fodder.

How many Harry Potter fans found Snape a bit more interesting than all the other characters? Raising hand again. Of course, Malfoy fan fic is popular all across this great land. (Bonus points for those who add a queer element.)  But cold snobbiness is not so obviously a turn on–so what is?

THE VILLAIN AS ROMANTIC CHALLENGE:

Some women are hunters.

I loathe shopping, but I believe that some women shop as a form of hunting. They hunt down a bargain, they trap their sale item, and display their trophy at home. Myself, I love capturing a shy person at a party.  If I can get a shy guy or woman to crack open and talk about themselves, then I am so happy lapping at all that hidden goodness within.  Here’s my theory: if you are more comfortable at a party when you have something to do vs. just hanging out, I’m guessing you like to hunt a potential mate who presents some kind of challenge.

On the other hand, we need to respect the fact that some women like hunting men as an attention game for the sheer sport of it, whether they’re also looking for sex, romance, or a husband.  The idea of women hunting after men often used to have a really negative connotation.  But let’s face it, women really are socially very powerful.  For instance, there’s a Georgette Heyer book called AN INFAMOUS ARMY in which the heroine ‘Babs’ is in a mood, so she decides draw a man clear across the room to her with just one look.  She’s that kind of vixen.  Later on, she’s almost undone when she finally lands a guy she actually likes, because the vixen thing only works well when you don’t care, and by that point she cares a lot more than she wants to.

Spike is love’s bitch, and he’s man enough to admit it.

I decided to try a Babs-ian moment at one point in my life.  People were dancing and I was having some kind of crazy hormonal surge that left me feeling ridiculously full of confidence.  I spotted this guy on the other side of the dance floor–a blonde–and just BAM! Gave him one look.  It worked.  I watched with a bit of amused disbelief as he came across the crowded dance floor.  He turned out to be mega-cool and by the end of the night we had a thing going on.  (He dumped me a few months later.) On the other end of the spectrum, luring my Sweetie into a relationship was a much more subtle and drawn out process.  In those moments where I would entice him to yet another fun social event where we could bond, I was like a different person.  Kinda hunter-y, though that’s not how I’d put it at the time.  But definitely confident, goal-oriented, and–um–compelling.  Of course, I was an insecure mess the rest of the time, obsessed and anxious, desperate and yet still hoping.

My point is: the heart you have to conquer is the heart you’ve earned.  And when it comes to villains, they’re just not easy to conquer. Maybe they’re selfish, or mis-trusting.  Your above-average intellectual villain wouldn’t fall for you just because of your looks.  He’s probably more discriminating.

THE VILLAIN WHO HAS A HEART–though it’s “small and tiny, and he can’t remember the last time he used it.”

Your ideal hot villain cares for only one or two people–if that.  So in the fantasy, the villain who only has the capacity to love in the low single digits–loves you. You get to be within that circle of protection. You get to be one of the chosen few.

Even better–villains are often virgins of the heart when it comes to romantic feels.  He’s having new feelings he’s never had before, and this makes your encounter all the more scrumptious.

The fantasy about the villain is he can be so awful to others, but stops being simply awful to you.  He just can’t.  He may even be frustrated and unhappy that he can’t.  Being unable to act like an utter sh** the way he does to everyone else becomes proof that whether he wants to or not, he’s got the feels for you, and he’s got it bad.

THE VILLAIN AS COLD, ISOLATED MAN:

Fassy as Magnito in the Xmen franchise might as well be singing “Allllll by mysellllf”.   He’s an iceberg and you want to thaw him out. 

THE VILLAIN YOU PRACTICE YOUR SUPER-POWERS UPON, AKA THE PLOT OF EVERY DARK ROMANCE EVER WRITTEN:

 I love a Villain who does some bad stuff but also some good stuff and shows real anti-hero potential. In Dark Romance the villain/hero does a lot of bad stuff–even to the heroine.  Yet the heroine holds out a kind of hope:

  • if we can bond,
  • if I can show him I trust him,
  • if become one of the very few HE TRUSTS

…then I’ll be safe via some combo of my looks/personality/vulnerability/wits/social powers, and gift of persuasion…

…and therefore I survive and therefore I WIN.

Yeah—call this Stockholm Syndrome–sure, go ahead.

But Stockholm syndrome had a negative connotation of a kind of victim-hood, whereas what I’m talking about is slaying your skulking hottie villain with love-bonding.

This is less about being a victim and more about working raw survival skills when you’re at a complete disadvantage using only your powers of attraction and persuasion – which can feel like a sort of triumph and conquest. It’s like killing someone with one tiny piece of string.

SO WHY ARE WE LIKE THIS?

Why are we attracted to men with limited or negative qualities? Why aren’t we just wired to dive onto that sunny, friendly, honest good guy and not let go?  Welp.  I think it has something to do with The Warrior Gene problem.

THE WARRIOR GENE

There actually is a genetic variant that some humans (men) have which they call the warrior gene.  With this genetic variant you can get empathy, but it’s rather limited.  For instance, you can have soldiers who are efficient killing machines in battle, but still display love and caring for their family and children. This gene shows a middle ground between ‘normal’ people who really don’t like to hurt others, and sociopaths who have a hard time caring for anyone but themselves.

Okay, so here’s my whack theory: I hypothesize that there’s a counterpart to the Warrior Guy gene.

THE WARRIOR MATE GENE

Let’s call it the Warrior Mate gene.  The Warrior Mate gene (if it exists) would be a genetic variant that makes women highly attracted to Warrior Guys–even if Warrior Guy is sometimes a dick. I mean, in terms of evolution, Warrior Guy is the perfect mate waaaaaay back in the day, right? He won’t attack and abuse the children or you, but–and this is key–he will protect the family against ruthless, violent attacks. His lack of emotions in the moment of battle will give him an edge and he will be competent and unhesitating when it comes to killing.  Of course you’d be wired to look for this guy and to be attracted to him and draw him in close.

Further whack theory: this is why we women have evolved to process relationships to a much greater degree than men. (There’s science to back this up.) We need to sort through all the good and the bad when it comes to guys–sifting fine nuances in behavior–because sometimes the bad can work in our favor. I mean, look, if the Huns are on our doorstep we can’t go fight them all if we’ve got three knee-biters to look after. Right?

Do you revel in a good villain? Let me know in the comments section below.  Speaking of reveling:

We’re only two weeks away from our big event at RT.  Join LadySmut bloggers at the RT Booklovers Convention May 3-7, especially at our super special reader event – Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever. Win crowns, fetish toys, books and more! Goodybags to first 100 people in line! Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

Reasons To Bang The Bad Guy, Pt. 1

13 Apr

by Madeline Iva

Saranna DeWylde got me thinking yesterday about why we’re so attracted to awesome villains like Loki. Because we are. I am.  Before I unleash my perverse romantic side, let us be clear: I’d never go near an evil dude in real life.  (I can’t help thinking of this guy who said to me in college: Women only like assholes, never the good guys.  No, David, most of us like the good guys.) That said…here’s the break-down on why we are simply fascinated with depictions of excellent villains and their equally hot cousin, the anti-hero.

(What is an anti-hero but a villain who was so damn attractive he was morphed by popular demand into Super-Duper Flawed Guy.  Examples: Damon on Vampire Diaries, Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sawyer on Lost — I could go on and on and on…)

From a romance perspective, a great, charismatic villain provides hideous temptation to fantasize.Their are specific qualities that particularly tempt us.  Let’s explore them, shall we?

THE VILLAIN AS A FANTASY OBJECT OF REDEMPTION:

  1. We especially like a villain with teeny bit of good in him: Romance readers are always willing take a small nugget of goodness and blow it up into something mate-worthy–even heroically substantial. Readers feel this especially for good looking men.  Would that we were as kind to women*** Anyway, Jamie Dornan playing Paul Spector in THE FALL is a serial killer, but also a loving dad to his daughter–therefore, it hurts when his world is falling down around him at the end and he has to explain to his daughter that he’s not going to raise her anymore and probably not see her again. There’s not the usual feeling of satisfaction that he’d been caught for his evil deeds and is going away for forever.  (I think the point originally was to show the audience that he’s victimized his daughter as well–but there was such an intense depth of emotion to the scene that it mutated into something more complicated, intriguing, and relatable.)
  2. Villain as misunderstood– underneath his/her reprehensible actions, there’s a world of hurt in that villain.  The villain needs someone to kiss the boo-boos and make it better. Frankenstein’s monster just wants to give the little girl a flower. Is it his fault she passes out from fear and people mis-construe the way he carried her off? He’s just MISUNDERSTOOD PEOPLE!
  3. Villain as a fish out of water – Loki fits this — he’s a fish out of water in Valhalla.  He’s intelligent and incredibly powerful, but despite his talents he’s not the leader–he’s not even one of them. Despite his strong call to lead, he’ll never get the chance because he’s a cuckoo in the nest. He’s all twisted up from the git go cause of the lies and things that were hidden from him – none of which is his fault. And frankly, NO ONE CARES to make it right with him. All paranormal monsters are always a fish out of water when it comes to normality–even when normality is being an immortal god in a giant hall at the end of a rainbow.
  4. Villains as victims/victims of betrayal:  Sebastian Stan was cat nip as THE WINTER SOLDIER in the movie of the same name.  Inside that weird bromance-core was an understanding of Stan’s plight: He can’t HELP IT – it’s not his fault—he’s been brainwashed!!!!  And those lips, yi.  Meanwhile, James Franco in Spider-man loved his father, and was blinded to the truth by his father, because his best friend and father both lied to him. The ending of the first Spider Man is drenched in irony through Franco not realizing that his virtues (his loyalty to his father) means his best friend becomes his worst enemy. I remember watching the first movie long ago and liking Franco in his proto-villain phase far more than anyone else in the movie even before Franco became a big deal.

    James we hardly knew ye as Harry Osborn.

  5. Villain as vulnerable: we relate to flaws A LOT. A top-notch villain can is as much a prisoner of his past and deep psychological needs as anyone else.

    Kylo Ren is angsty, unstable–ready to crack open and bleed pain. Yum!

  6. For some villains, happiness is just so close–yet so far away! Show me a villain who has the chance to change and I’ll show you a riveted romance audience.  The best villains often have pain they cling to that goads them towards doing evil–and when there’s a chance the villain might back off from this emotional sticky point before the point of no return oh, we are in our happy place! That’s how you know romance audiences–we want happy endings for anyone we find interesting.

NEXT WEEK: VILLAINS & OUR FORBIDDEN DESIRES

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

***Women on the whole are a lot more unforgiving towards other women than they are towards men. I think with a romantic perspective and therefore believe that my readers view worthy, hot men as objects of romantic conquest/relationship projects. At the same time I believe almost all women are still socialized to be harshly judgmental when it comes to other women–especially those depicted in romance novels.

Is that statement upsetting? I would never want to accuse someone unjustly of sexism, but even I fall down when taking the quiz below–see how you do:

  • Name three women you know personally who sleep around a lot, but you DON’T think are sluts
  • Name 3 woman you know who doesn’t prioritize their kids but you don’t judge them as neglectful moms
  • Name three women you know who have some kind of authority over you or someone very close to you that you don’t think of as busybodies or annoying bitches.
  • If you read a romance novel about an unmarried woman, who is intensely focussed on her career, and doesn’t want kids, or to take care of the people around her–would you see her as a role model? Or would you think she’s too selfish and unlikeable for a romance heroine? Now if the character was switched to a romance hero, would you also think he was selfish and unlikeable?

 

 

Bang-able Villains

12 Apr

Hello Lovely Readers! Elizabeth Shore is away today. Instead, we have a happily edgy post from the amazing and kick-ass Saranna DeWylde here.  I asked Saranna to do a guest post after I saw this exchange on facebook:

Yes! Exactly!

So I asked Saranna to talk to us about why we women are sometimes (often?) a bit more interested in a really good villain than they are the hero.

I absolutely love a well-constructed villain. I don’t mean an anti-hero, I like them, but this post is all about the E-ville. Is that a misspelling? Not at all. Say it out loud, roll it around in your mouth. You’re not a good villain unless you have the mustache-twirling pronunciation. Maybe even a bit of goatee stroking. You know what I mean?

No, I didn’t. 

When I first think about favorite villains, Hannibal Lecter comes to mind, but he’s not really a villain anymore, is he? In the television show, he’s more of an anti-hero.

 

Is he??? I haven’t seen this show, but I’ve heard so much about it…Check out the preview above.

What especially interests me about villains and their bangability is societal reaction and what we deem acceptably attractive in people. No one thinks anything about me saying I’d like give Darth Vader a run for his money except to say that maybe his parts don’t work in that suit. I maintain he could probably give really great orgasms with The Force. A little breath play, and pretty much whatever else he wanted you to feel. (Is it getting hot in here, or is just me?)

Old Darth does it for Saranna, Kylo Ren is all tortured and interesting to a new generation.

If I say I thought Paul Spector was hot from The Fall, I’d be one of those twisted girls into serial killers. But I know real serial killers. I was a prison guard. I hung out with them for eight hours a day, sometimes sixteen. None of them look like Jamie Dornan. And none of them were ever the least bit attractive to me.

Which is not to suggest that because someone is physically handsome in real life he’s NOT a serial killer….Tiago Henrique Gomes da Rocha

(Incidentally, I didn’t crush on Jamie Dornan until The Fall.)

Fictional evil is attractive. There’s a nod to everything that’s not the ideal. That’s not a princess. That’s not perfect. And part of us wants them to win because that means we can too. A charismatic villain makes so much easier to acknowledge our own sins, see our own dark places, and we can empathize with him in fiction, because we don’t have to own our massive flaws for real.

I find when a hero holds up his virtues it’s much harder for me to say, yes…that’s me too. The writers of Luther posited through show dialogue that women specifically were attracted to evil men because we were able to claim some of their power for our own. There might be something to that.

While we’re at it, I kind of have a type. The Devil. Almost anyone can play The Devil, and that’s an insta-girl boner. Hell, this could probably comprise most of my list. Apologies to Tom Ellis in Lucifer, though. He’s hot, but he started out an antihero so he doesn’t make my list. So pretty, though.

Tom Ellis as Lucifer

With that said, let’s open our Slam Books to

Top Eleven Villains I’d Bang.

Not ten, because I’m being contrary in honor of our villains. (After, you better share yours, too, or I’m not going to share my slap bracelets.)

In no particular order:

Darth Vader– As I said before, he could do some crazy shit with The Force. I just keep thinking about that choke hold. Amirite?

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), American Psycho– That might actually be bad sex. I’m not so much down for the coat hanger and he’s so arrogant, he’s probably terrible in bed. I think I really just want to pet his shoulders and his hair after we eat at Dorsia.

Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), The Fall– Well, I mean. C’mon.

Paul Spector in The Fall, aka Jamie Dornan

Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek), From Dusk Till Dawn– Everyone wants to let her bite them. Everyone. She’s single-minded in her approach to food and any other pleasures. I support this wholeheartedly.

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), The Wolf of Wall Street– I’m not sure if it’s the part where he says, “the book, motherfucker) or if it’s because he’s unrepentant about what a piece of shit he is, and I don’t know if I’d think the real JB was attractive, because he did actually hurt people. But his characterization? Yeah, I’d hit that.

Lizzie Borden (Christian Ricci) Lizzie Borden series– Here’s a woman who isn’t taking shit from anyone. She knows what she wants, and isn’t afraid to take it. Whatever the cost.

Viggo Mortenson, The Prophecy– His portrayal of the Big D is one of the best ever. He’s not meant to be attractive, yet, somehow still is. He’s horrible, and awful and I love every second of it. “Little Tommy Daggett. How I loved listening to your sweet prayers every night. And then you would jump into bed, so afraid that I was under there. And I was!” Really, do you promise? Please?

Gabriel Byrne, End of Days– Gimme. (I also dug him as the priest in Stigmata, but he was sort of a hero there. Kinda. It doesn’t count.)

Mark Pellegrino, Supernatural– He’s almost an anti-hero. But not quite. Just enough… I love his character so much.

Sam Neil, The Omen Part 6400-I don’t know. I just can’t help myself.

Bradley James, The Omen TV series-He doesn’t want to be bad, he just is. And when he finally owns it? Boo yeah. Bring it, handsome!

Anyway, those are my eleven for the moment. My list is ever-changing, but I’d love to know which villains you’d like to lock in your bedroom. Tell me in the comments below.

Want more Saranna? Check her out on facebook, or sign up for her newsletter at her website. Tomorrow I’m responding more to Saranna’s post — check it out!

And follow us at Lady Smut where we’ll happily explore your dark side all night long.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

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