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Beta Me, Baby

26 Jun

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

By now, pretty much everyone on the planet with the slightest connection to me knows of my mad love for Wonder Woman the movie and Wonder Woman in general. Loud and proud, baby. Loud and proud.

 

The film has stuck with me for weeks. I saw it a second time with a friend for whom it was a first-time viewing, and found even more to love about it. Those Amazons. Strewth.

 

I’m currently caught on the marvel (heh) that is Steve Trevor, the beta male. Amongst all the awesome female kick-assedness of the film, Steve Trevor is not so quietly being equally awesome. I touched on this a bit in my blog about the movie.

Because Steve respects her and he is absolutely not at any moment ever made to feel less of a man by her or because of her. He also doesn’t hesitate to follow her, to have her back while acknowledging her leadership. Nor does he think she’s less due to her gender. He doesn’t have to make her little to feel big. There’s no proving to be done by either one of them. She has her part and he has his and they both go to do them, no matter the personal cost. They are fully partners. When Steve fights with the Amazons on the beach, he doesn’t try to protect them or underestimate them. He immediately assesses their skill and fights side by side with them. More, he learns from them and proves this later in the movie when he copies an Amazon move in order to help Diana during another battle, sure she’ll instantly know what he means because he’s aware of her skill and training and more, confident she can carry it out to fruition. And he loves her, fast and sure as happens in such movies, but he doesn’t love her expecting her to change or become someone else or to set aside what she believes in or must do because of that love. He loves her for who she is, and makes him better, makes him want to be better.

Any cursory scan of my blogging history shows my affinity for the alpha male, at least in print and TV/films. In real-life, I can put up with that bossy, tough guy BS for about half a second before the guy has to show me something more. A guy can be masculine and manly and not be a jackhole about it, alpha or no. And this, I’m begging to believe, is the core of the beta hero, of which Steve Trevor may be the perfect example.

You lead, I’ll follow

I texted with my best friend about Steve Trevor this week.

Her: I dig the beta hero, so I’m biased.

Me: A lot of women do and if they were all like Steve Trevor, I’d definitely go there. I think he’s a mix of  both [alpha and beta]. Goes to show that beta doesn’t automatically mean weak or not a leader of men.

Her: He’s absolutely both and definitely a good example of someone willing to share the load. Smart enough to take the reigns and give them back as the situation changes. He doesn’t constantly have to prove himself. And I think the beta part comes through in that he doesn’t try to change everyone’s opinions of [Diana]. He tries to keep her somewhat within the social boundaries so they can be effective (not because he feels those boundaries are good) but lets her prove her own worth to others. So, not take-charge in that way, but sexy because he knows it’s unnecessary.

My bestie is one super smart lady.

With Steve Trevor on the brain, I paid more attention to Mon-el in the TV show Supergirl.

Chris Wood as Mike/Mon-El and Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

I’m not a fan of Supergirl, or, more accurately, I don’t want to be a fan of Supergirl. I really don’t want to like this show for Reasons. Yet I find myself absently watching it, usually reruns and usually around 7 AM on weekdays when I’m doing my FitBit and lifting free weights and need the distraction. But Supergirl is girlie and feminist, empowering and a little campy. And in season two, it introduce a perfect beta male.

Mon-el starts out as a self-serving boy toy who isn’t so much interested in using his powers for good as is for using his powers to score. But as the season progresses (I’m guessing here a bit; I haven’t seen most of the season, only the first three and the back nine episodes. Don’t want to like it, remember?). Anyway, as the season progresses, and he and Kara, aka Supergirl, fall in love, he becomes less a dude bro and more the perfect beta male and partner for his super-powered woman.

Ah. Young, superpowered love.

Mon-el is not left with no role to play. His powers are different than Kara’s and so how he can help in their missions differs too. But he’s learning from her all the time, much like Steve Trevor learns from Diana and the Amazons. At the end of the season, again like Steve Trevor, Mon-el sacrifices himself and his and Kara’s happiness in order to save the world. Literally. He does this because he’s learned this kind of sacrificial service from Kara. And, again like Steve Trevor, he knows in making that sacrifice that he’s leaving the more powerful person behind to carry on.

I’m not of the belief that only beta males can be this layered and complex, this manly and yet not the primary in all things. Dyson of the Lost Girl series is unabashedly (and literally) an alpha wolf (and, admittedly, occasionally a bit of an emotional dumb ass). As he falls for the succubus Bo and as, episode by episode, they become partners in crime solving, he defers to her when the situation warrants it, none of which makes him any less alpha be it wolf or man. They save each other, time and again, not because one or the other is weak or incapable, but because they each have their own strengths and often, Bo’s is the greater one in the situation. (At least in season one. I’m still trying to ignore most of season two, all of season three, when the man-hating began in earnest, and the majority of seasons five and six.)

Above all, these “beta’ males are not de-fanged of their masculinity because of a powerful woman. Powerful in their own rights, be it as a super-powered alien from another planet or as a superior leader of men, a truly heroic person, who is as human as the guy next to him, or an outright alpha male who isn’t a bully or a jackhole, when partnered with a woman vastly more powerful than they are in physical capabilities, they are not made lesser–they do not feel lesser–which is super sexy.

We need more of these complex, empowered, layered, kinds of men in fiction today, because there are, I’m convinced, far many of them in real-life than media would lead us to believe. In which case, beta me, baby. Beta me.

Do you have a favorite book or TV beta boyfriend? Give him a shout out in the comments.

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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.

 

Wonder Woman: Worth the 40 Year Wait

12 Jun

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

I was five years old in 1977 when I jumped off my older sister’s canopy bed and sprained my arm. Hers was a tall bed, tall enough to house a trundle bed underneath, and was as high as I could get at just past 9 PM on a Friday evening. You see, I’d just seen another episode of Wonder Woman. And I knew, even then, that was who I wanted to be in life.

After that stunt, my parents tried to forbid me from watching the show. You can imagine how well that went over. But I did have to promise no more leaps from high places. When my mother tried to curb our Saturday morning cartoon watching, I wheedled my way into her acquiescing to only the SuperFriends and the Smurfs. The SuperFriends are probably the only reason I was ever willingly awake at 8:30 on a Saturday morning. That year or the next, a girl in my class (who I went to nursery school with and, as it turned out, every other school through to high school graduation) got a full Wonder Woman kit for her fifth or sixth birthday. I was insanely jealous and, at that age, completely incapable of hiding it. Somewhere, there’s a picture of me at her party dressed in her birthday present (sorry about that, Kimmie).

You see, from as far back as I can conjugate, I knew I was destined to be Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman was strong. She was never, ever bullied. Not for her looks, not for her size, not for anything. She rescued the underdog, the helpless and needy. She was respected by men–or at least by men worth of the title. She was honorable and righteous. She was kind and generous. She smiled big and knew how to have fun, but she never put herself above others, despite her power and strength and position. She could not only play with the boys, not only hold her own with them, but she could (and would) easily outpace their best efforts. She took care of those who depended on her and made sure they had what they needed, even at her own expense. She was a princess and a warrior. She was loved and lovable.

From a very early age, I longed to be all these things.

Wonder Woman didn’t get teased for her weight or her clothes. Wonder Woman didn’t get mocked for reading as she walked to and from grade school. Wonder Woman didn’t cry as she walked to junior high. Wonder Woman didn’t get ridiculed for reading romance novels because she needed to believe not only in romance and love, but that she herself was worthy of being loved. Wonder Woman didn’t worry about any of that shit. No one would dare.

So you can imagine my feelings to learn there was finally going to be a live-action Wonder Woman film. Or maybe not, because I’ve been trying for nearly ten days to figure them out, and I’m not all that much closer than when I walked out of the movie theatre.

For once, I did not learn every microcosm of information about the movie. I didn’t scan blogs or media sites, I didn’t haunt youtube videos of premieres around the world, I didn’t read or watch media blitzes and morning show spots and red carpet interviews.

I didn’t want the real world interfering with my life-long dream. A real, live Wonder Woman.

Some girls wanted a sparkly tiara. I always went a different route…

It’s been nearly 40 years since I was that young girl jumping off the bed. (Newsflash: that wasn’t my last jump.) Over time, my love for the Amazon princess has not abated. I have a Wonder Woman license plate frame. My best friend bought me Wonder Woman drinking glasses for Christmas. The Mother bought me Wonder Woman stud earrings (which I wore to the movie, natch). I had the Wonder Woman Underroos; as an adult, I have knickers and sleep shirts. I have Wonder Woman workout gear. I wore a different Wonder Woman shirt to the day job every day of the week the movie was released and still had another to wear Saturday when I went to see the film.

To say my expectations were high for this movie is to understate the emotional importance the film carried for me and that five and six and seven and fourteen and so on through the teenage years girl.

I’m here to say, it was absolutely, 100% worth the wait. It’s powerful, emotional, sweet, funny, sexy, emotional, and empowering.

“What one does when faced with the truth is harder than you think.” — Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Wonder Woman 2017

I’m not going to rehash every moment of the film or break down all the feminist principles or the (very few) places they went wrong. There are plenty of other places out there to read all of that. The nay sayers and trolls are making a lot of hay over the movie’s assertion that “love is the answer” as though the moral and theme of Wonder Woman can be summed up with a Beatles’ song. But it’s so much more than that.

“Be careful in the world of men, Diana, they do not deserve you.” Queen Hippolyta, Wonder Woman 2017

Diana’s strength isn’t in her weapons or her power. It’s in her heart where her true power lies. This is something our male superheroes struggle to convey and/or to capitalize on. They have honor and strength and commitment and sacrifice, but few have the courage to act solely from their hearts–from a place of love. Diana has so much love to give, her heart is so large, it can’t remain on an island sequestered from a world that needs her, however violent and cursed and male that world may be. She gives up the right to ever return to her home in order to go where she’s needed. Her mother, Hippolyta, reminds Diana that if she chooses to leave, she can never return. “How will I be if I stay?” Diana replies, to which Hippolyta has no reply.

Steve Trevor: I can’t let you do this…

Diana Prince: What I do is not up to you.

Wonder Woman 2017

That doesn’t mean she’s a pushover. She enters the outside world at a time when women’s suffrage had yet to happen and women were struggling for that very recognition. But Diana knows no world where she is not an equal. It doesn’t ever occur to her that she is less for any reason, but especially not because of her gender. Diana goes where she wants and does what she thinks is necessary and just no matter that all the men around her are telling her “no”. She is constantly being told “no” in this movie, and she just keeps on going. When Steve Trevor brings Diana with him to Parliament so he can update his boss, he tells her not to enter. He actually says “stay”. Diana ignores him and walks on in, bringing the entire room to a standstill because, good Lord, there’s a woman in the chambers of Parliament!

But to Diana, it is just another room and she rightly sees no reason why she shouldn’t be able to enter it. Later, she does the same thing with the war room. Why should she stay outside when the information she needs in in that room? Therefore, she must be in that room. She challenges the men because she doesn’t recognize their “superiority”. It never occurs to her that she’s anything but equal, or at the least, their superior. Not because she has a vagina, but because these worldly people, these men, have been corrupted by ambition or greed or war (there are a number of options offered in the movie) while Diana’s gaze remains clear and fixed. She knows the enemy and knows how to defeat him. She doesn’t accept “we can’t do that because of X or Y.” She knows what must be done and if the men aren’t going to step up and do it, then she is going to do it without them.

And here’s the thing: the men follow her.

Because Steve respects her and he is absolutely not at any moment ever made to feel less of a man by her or because of her. He also doesn’t hesitate to follow her, to have her back while acknowledging her leadership. Nor does he think she’s less due to her gender. He doesn’t have to make her little to feel big. There’s no proving to be done by either one of them. She has her part and he has his and they both go to do them, no matter the personal cost. They are fully partners. When Steve fights with the Amazons on the beach, he doesn’t try to protect them or underestimate them. He immediately assesses their skill and fights side by side with them. More, he learns from them and proves this later in the movie when he copies an Amazon move in order to help Diana during another battle, sure she’ll instantly know what he means because he’s aware of her skill and training and more, confident she can carry it out to fruition. And he loves her, fast and sure as happens in such movies, but he doesn’t love her expecting her to change or become someone else or to set aside what she believes in or must do because of that love. He loves her for who she is, and makes him better, makes him want to be better.

(For more on how great Steve Trevor is as a beta male who doesn’t lose his masculinity because he follows Diana, read this great post on Mary Sue, The Steve Trevor Factor: Wonder Woman Gives Us a Template for What Gender Equality Can Look Like. I could not say it better if I tried.)

Steve Trevor: “We can’t save everyone.”

Diana: “Maybe you can’t. But I’m going to.”

Wonder Woman 2017

Watching Wonder Woman, I thought of all the young girls experiencing Diana, Princess of Themyscira for the first time via this film, seeing and learning not that no matter what or who they want to be, they’ll always hear “no” and “don’t” and “no” again and “you can’t do that” or “women can’t do that,” but that they will be able to reply “maybe you can’t, but I’m going to.” That they too can be a wonder of a woman: Courageous. Kind. Wise. Loving. Beautiful. Strong. Undefeatable. That there’s not one of these elements they need to sacrifice to be any and all of the others.

Because Diana’s great capacity for love doesn’t make her a weakling. Oh no. She comes from far too heartier stock for that. The Amazons in Wonder Woman are feats to behold, fierce and fearsome, and more than one warrior’s cry brought chills to my spine–and an elated smile to my face. These are the ancestors of all the Black Widows and Supergirls and Buffys and Jean Greys and so on and so on. Every kick ass, bad ass woman hero or antihero, superhero or chosen one. They owe it all to the Amazons. And these are the women who raised and trained Diana to be all that is Wonder Woman, and to have Robin Wright, the Princess Bride herself, leading the charge, well, there are few greater ways to make the circle complete.

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I’ve written before about how romance novels taught me to be the heroine of my own story, how they continue to embolden women to reach for what makes them happy, to be that heroine. With the arrival of Wonder Woman, I’ve realized she started me on that journey. She’s the first to make me believe I could be more–that I was worth more

I’ve been trying to be Wonder Woman for 40 years. Strong. Giving. Honorable. Righteous. Kind. Compassionate. Forgiving. Sacrificial. Loving. Undefeatable Striving to achieve that destiny, to be that woman in a mortal, real-life existence. And I’ve failed, epically, far more than I’ve succeeded.

There’s been no magic bracelets despite my propensity for silver cuffs (gee, wonder where *that* came from?). No lasso of truth to discern who is lying to me and guide me to the truths of peoples hearts. No invisible jet to get to places quickly (though that bit I never got–what good is an invisible jet when everyone can see you through it anyway?). No superior strength or effervescent beauty. Just me being, well, me.

As it turns out, that’s been more than enough.

I am, as I’ve always been, a wonder of a woman. We all are. Heroines of our own wondrous stories.

Looks like that was my destiny after all.

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It’s theme week here at Lady Smut as we celebrate the release of our own Elizabeth Sa Fleur’s newest installment in the Elite Doms of Washington series, Lucky.

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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.

Now available exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

Wild for All of YOU!

29 May

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

I am, Lady Smutters. I am absolutely wild for you–and so grateful for all your support during our Wild Week here on Lady Smut when we celebrated the nomination of my novel, Wild on the Rocks, for the prestigious RONE award by InD’Tale Magazine. Truly, you make me giddy with grateful glee.

While I do not yet have the results of the contest, I’m happy to report that Wild on the Rocks made a stunning return to the Top 100 Kindle World Romance rankings holding steady in the 50s for the last two weeks, more than a year after first being published! That’s amazing! I’m so grateful for all your support and I hope everyone who took a wild chance on Quinn and Jasper enjoyed their sexy, emotional ride.

Wild on the Rocks is still on sale for $.99, so if you haven’t snagged a hot copy of this sizzling romantic suspense, now is a great time!

“Her taste was narcotic. His mind fogged over and the burn in his chest exploded as he drank deep. Somewhere along the way that day, she’d indulged in a shot of rum. He licked the spicy flavor from her lips and dived deeper.” From Wild on the Rocks.

You know what else is sexy? Service to our country. I know, I know, it sounds formulaic and, let’s face it, potentially insincere. But the truth is that committing your life to something greater than yourself is the sexiest thing a man (or woman) can do. And it’s important that, each year, we take the time to remember those nameless and faceless heroes. After all, they’re not nameless and faceless to everyone.

The hero of Wild on the Rocks, Jasper, is a Navy SEAL, and one of the sexiest things about him is his commitment to that job, that calling, that has shaped his life in many ways. I write heroes like him because I am so in awe of people who have the courage to put their lives on the line for our nation and our people. I believe that says something amazing about the character of such people, right off the bat.

Much as I would like it to be otherwise, Jasper is, alas, a fictional character. But there are many real-life men (and women) who have followed that call and given their lives in service to our nation. They didn’t first ask to know what were our politics or who we voted for or where we stood on national healthcare. They went where they were told and did extraordinary work that, in many cases, cost them their lives.

Today, on Memorial Day, we remember those sacrifices. We honor those men and woman who gave their all so that I can maintain the freedom to do things like, say, post sexy things on a website and not go to jail for doing it–and so you can enjoy those sexy things too.

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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, has been nominated 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.

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Wild Excerpt for Wild Week

18 May

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Hope all you readers have been enjoying Wild Week here at Lady Smut. Whether it’s Alexa Day’s Praise of the Wild Man or Elizabeth Shore hunting for ethical porn, it’s a wild time day by day to celebrate of the nomination of my novel, Wild on the Rocks, for InD’Tale’s Magazine‘s prestigious RONE award in the Suspense/Thriller: Short category. Voting goes all week, and I’d love it if you’d head on over and show some support for Wild on the Rocks, which is now on sale for $.99 exclusively from Amazon!

Vote today!

Wanna know what you’re getting into? Keep reading to see how, a year after their divorce, Jasper and Quinn find each other again in the most unlikely of places. Of all the joints in the world…

Enjoy this excerpt from Wild on the Rocks!

 

 

Casa Blanca, Barefoot Bay, Florida.

“Toldja. Beaches, babes, and booze. The unholy trifecta. Praise sweet baby Jesus.”
Twist’s voice sounded through Jasper’s ear pierce as he scanned the patio area where the rehearsal dinner
cocktail hour was under full swing.
He had to admit that, for once, Twist had got it right.
The Thornquist wedding—or the Thorny Wedding as the security team had taken to calling it—was as
opulent as advertised. Jasper stopped trying to count the number of recognizable faces from notable Washington
families after the first hour. Not that he knew a lot of them on sight. Twist had a better take on the Who’s Who,
given he came from some seriously old money, a secret he kept close and actively hid from their team.
“There’s definitely enough booze,” Jasper agreed. “We’ll be fishing women in formal wear out of the
pool before the bride gets down the aisle.”
“Ah, the wet gown contests. Nothin’ like a dirty debutante.” He sighed with such exaggeration, Jasper
fancied he felt an actual breeze. “Sometimes, at night, I can still hear the screams…of pleasure.”
He absolutely would not smile at Twist’s ridiculousness. “We’ve been here twenty-four hours and your
degenerate side is already at full throttle.”
“Brother, it’s my best side.”
“How ’bout we try to be professionals for a while. Did you tag the congressman’s daughter?”
“Your four o’clock. She’s on her third drink and laughing with the bartender.”
“Spectacular. That’s what we need: a horny bartender.”
“The bartender is a woman, and if she’s horny for the congressman’s daughter, then I’m moving in for a
ringside seat. Shee-it, she is hawt.”
At the mention of a female bartender, Jasper’s head instantly filled with the image of Quinn, her whole
body shaking with laughter at something stupid he’d said before she leaned her elbows on the bar to get closer to
him as if even the air between them was too much distance to bear.
Until she’d run out on him six months later while he was OUTCONUS and put all the distance of the
world between them for good.
Annoyed, he shook off the memory like he longed to shake off the woman. That’s why he was here, right?
To exorcise the taste and feel and haunting memories of his wife on a willing woman.
Ex-wife.
A short-term, holiday affair was the perfect way to end the self-enforced abstinence he’d endured since
his divorce. Jasper was normally careful who he fucked, his career and his family history enough that he didn’t
treat sex as casual even when having casual sex. The one time he’d taken a chance on a wild lover, she’d
quickly become his wife and soon after broken his heart but good.
This temporary fantasy away from his shattered life was the perfect place to learn from his mistakes. And
make a few new, short-term ones.
“Was it ‘hot’ or ‘horny’ where we lost you, Queen?”
Twist’s voice held more than a thread of humor in it. If he made one comment over coms about Jasper
being hard up, best friend or not, he was going to kill him.
“Sit rep,” he snapped.
“You’re not CO on this op,” Twist reminded him with no small amount of glee. “Man, you should see this
bartender.”
Jasper rolled his eyes behind his aviator shades. “We’re on a job, Twist. Not on vacation or the prowl.”
“We’re on a job on vacation, Queen. And I take my wingman duties seriously for both. Relax. You can
count on me to Set. You. Up.”
“I’ll relax when you stop yapping in my ear while I’m getting paid to look after people who could buy or
sell small countries with their pocket change.”
“You better have more than change in your pocket, brother. Not kidding, Queen. You need to come over
here and check her out. She is smokin’ hot.”
“Happy as I am to hear you appreciate the staff, maybe you could spare the rest of us the play by play,
Sisti.”
Luke McBain’s terse voice made Jasper grimace. Thanks to Twist, he was getting chastised over coms.
Soon as they were off duty, he was gonna kick Twist’s ass.
“I could do for a little play by play,” one of the other guards admitted. “These political fuckers are boring
as hell.”
“These political fuckers are our well-paying clients,” McBain reminded everyone. “Try not to disrespect
them to their faces.” A series of “yes, sirs” flooded the com line. “Rehearsal’s over. We’re headed back to the
resort.”
Along with five of his guys, McBain was down on the beach guarding the principals—bride, groom,
attendants, and parents—while the rest of them babysat everyone not in the wedding party. That McBain’s wife
and her wedding planning partners were on the beach probably had a lot to do with his hands on approach at that
vector. “Queen, report.”
“Guests are bugging out from the patio, moving into the dining room. Got ten lingering.”
“Hustle them along. I want everyone under roof in five. Rocco, Johnny, and Marlowe, you three are in
Junonia’s main room covering the dinner. It’s a sit down, so stay out of the way, but remain visible. The rest of
you patrol the perimeter. Sisti, meet up with Queen on the patio. The two of you take position inside the
restaurant at the bar.”
“Sure you want Twist close to the hot bartender?” Jasper asked.
“I’ve seen the woman. If he hits on her, I’ll want a ringside seat. I could use a good laugh today.”
Jasper wasn’t the only man chuckling over the channel at that one.
He moved from his position at the back corner of the patio from which he could see all the way down to
the beach. Table by table, he gently urged people into the restaurant proper, waiting as the women gathered the
whatnot women everywhere seemed to cart around with them no matter the occasion. His go bag had less to it
than some of these women’s purses.
He felt Twist at his six as he helped an octogenarian to her feet and transferred her surprisingly strong
grip to the arm of a waiter. The old dame patted his ass before shuffling off.
“Please tell me you’re not that hard up,” Twist begged, and Jasper heard him in stereo; at his back and
again through the coms.
Damn it.
“Fuck off,” he muttered.
“Oh ho!” Twist chortled with an elbow to Jasper’s gut. “Queen’s losing his cool! Is the world ending?!”
“Keep it up and yours can be.”
Twist snorted, and Jasper would’ve been happier to see his friend up to his old tricks if only he wasn’t
the target.
“I can do you better than a biddy,” Twist promised.
“For the love of my sanity, don’t help me.”
“Gotta look out for my boy.”
“Try doing that by not discussing my sex life on open coms.”
“What sex life? You haven’t gotten laid in months.”
“You know wingman and stalker mean two different things, right?”
“Rumor has it, you’ve got the bluest balls on the team for a man without a pregnant wife or girlfriend. The
boys have bets on how long it’ll take you to nail someone this weekend.”
“I’ll take that action,” Ryan, on the perimeter, piped in.
“Me too,” added Rocco from inside the restaurant.
“Done,” Twist confirmed. “We’ll settle up after the dinner.”
“I’m not hitting on the bartender,” Jasper vowed. “Leave me out of this little clique.”
Twist slapped a consoling hand on Jasper’s shoulder. “Ladies like it when you know how to find that
part.”
Laughter rang on the coms again while Jasper shook his head. “I can’t believe this shit,” he muttered.
“Believe it. Consider Operation King Me underway.”
Jasper’s gaze hit on McBain, who waited for them at the patio door to the restaurant. “Shut it,” he ordered
even though he knew McBain already heard Twist’s nonsense in his ear.
“When Nick gave me your names, I had no idea we’d be getting security and a show,” McBain gibed.
Jasper bit back a grimace. McBain eyed Twist with a peculiar gleam that made Jasper uneasy. “You know, don’t
you?”
That nagging sense of trouble that had been prodding the base of Jasper’s skull all day finally burst.
“What did you do?”
But Twist looked equally confused. “Swear Roy, I have no idea what he’s on about.”
Boss or not, Jasper raised a brow at McBain in silent demand. He jerked his head in a “follow me”
motion and led the way from the patio into the restaurant’s bar.
“I thought it was coincidence or a joke. But my guys only finalized her background check this morning.”
Her? Alarm snaked up Jasper’s spine. Oh, hell no.
“They gave me the final report this morning,” McBain continued. “Not hard to see you share the same last
name.” He gestured toward the bar where a woman worked to fill cocktail orders. “Don’t suppose she’s your
cousin?”
Jasper watched her move, the dance of her motions unchanged from a year before, a sinuous weave that
only hinted at the flexibility she’d brought to their bed. He’d told her once he’d never seen anyone make pouring
a glass of wine look so sexy.
This was still true.
Her dark-brown hair hung past her shoulders now to the middle of her back, long layers that fell forward
to brush her sharp cheekbone when she bent over the bar to serve a drink. He knew how those strands felt when
gripped in his hands, or scraping down his belly as her wide, lush mouth mapped its way down his body to her
target.
She wore the standard server’s uniform of white top and black bottoms, but her collared, tuxedo shirt was
fitted to her impressive rack, emphasized by the two buttons she left undone to show the tempting gulley in her
cleavage. The shirt nipped in at her waist and what little of her black trousers he could see clung to her hips. A
long pearl necklace was twisted into a knot to dangle down her front and Jasper knew, he knew, she’d be
wearing her motorcycle boots, even to this kind of wedding. When she stretched for a bottle off the top shelf, the
banner of skin left bare at her midriff came into view and Jasper proceeded to completely lose his shit.
“You already know she’s not my cousin,” he snarled while rage flooded his body and instant arousal made
him hard as a spike. “She’s my wife.”

* * *

Nettie’s tray clattered onto the bar. “Holy shit,” she gasped, eyes fixed on the restaurant’s entrance. “Is it
Christmas already?”
Quinn glanced over her shoulder as a trio of men crossed the threshold. The last rays of sun shined
through the door behind them, blinding her and making the men little more than shadows. Large shadows with
broad shoulders.
Hoo. Shah.
She shielded her eyes and turned back to the blender. “We should send God a fruit basket.”
“Full of gold.” Nettie nodded toward the man on the end. “That’s Luke McBain. He does the resort’s
security. Very married to one of the wedding planners.”
“So looky, but no touchy.”
Nettie grinned. “Exactly.”
Quinn checked the men out again from the corner of her eye. All three wore black collared shirts tucked
into belted black trousers and topped with aviator glasses they removed almost simultaneously as they came
fully into the bar and approached the women. As classic a uniform for their job as her black and white get-up
was for hers. Standing nearly at the same six-foot plus heights—though the one on the opposite end from McBain
was an inch or two shorter—they were all armed, two with weapons in hip holsters while the guy in the center
sported a shoulder rig.
To Quinn’s mind, shoulder rigs were the sexy, Mad Men version of gun holsters. In a good way. Intensely
masculine but minus the infuriating sexism. So her eyes lingered on that man, skimming over his wide, muscular
chest framed within the holster’s leather strips while she absently noted he alone of the three had his sleeves
rolled up to the elbow. His thick throat rippled as she watched and sharp hunger spiked deep in Quinn’s belly,
the likes of which she hadn’t felt in more than a year. What looked like two days’ worth of scruff covered his
scarred chin, surrounding lips she’d bet were full and a shy short of too fleshy when not drawn into their current
tight line. Coasting past raised cheek bones, the hair on the back of Quinn’s neck lifted and her nipples
contracted into painful points as her avaricious gaze met eyes she already knew were a stunning golden hazel
when not darkened with swelling rage that made his pupil expand until the color was a mere glowing rim.
“Can you imagine having that in your bed every night?” Nettie said.
“I can, actually.” Quinn replied on little more than an exhale. The bottle of wine in her hands trembled.
She set it down on the bar with extreme care and deliberately laid her hands on either side of it before looking
up into the breathtaking, hard-set face of her husband.
Ex-husband.
“Fuck, Roy, but you can pick ’em,” the third man said as he settled onto a stool, seemingly oblivious to the
heaving tension.
Quinn ignored him. She knew better than to look away from the seething powder keg that was Jasper.
“You look like a recruitment poster for Badasses ’R Us.”
He stepped toward the bar as though seconds from yanking her over it. “You look like you’re on your way
to try out for the Coyote Ugly sequel.”
His friend split a grin between them. “Okay, now I believe she’s your wife.”
Ex-wife,” Quinn and Jasper snapped simultaneously, which made the man crack up.
“Cut it out, Twist,” Jasper growled.
This was Twist? She risked taking her eyes off Jasper, fascinated to finally meet his closest friend, though
it escaped her why it could possibly mattered after all this time.
Twist’s grin didn’t falter, but it didn’t reach his eyes, either, and the frank animosity there scorched her
skin.
Okay by her. Not like she was trying to make friends.
“Luke McBain.” The other man introduced himself with a warm smile. She tore her eyes from Twist and
reflexively accepted his proffered hand.
“Quinn McQueen,” she replied without thinking and immediately regretted it when Jasper’s entire torso
recoiled.
The tailored shirt rippled over his muscled chest, mesmerizing Quinn so that Jasper startled her when he
leaned those bare, cut forearms on the bar and got right back in her space.
Holy crap, arm porn. She was in no way prepared for her ex-husband’s delectable arm porn.
He glared at her hand still caught in McBain’s until she tugged it free. “Come again?” The sibilant
whisper coasted over her skin. Quinn caught her breath.
Even though his arrival right now, right here, and all that might mean scared the holy shit outta her, even
after all the bone-crushing, lonely days and weeks she’d spent without him, even now, that deep rumble of his
voice raised goose bumps on her arms.
“Jasp,” she whispered with absolutely no idea what to say beyond that or how to justify being Quinn
McQueen again without telling him that simply having his name was a comfort when she felt more lost than ever
before in her life.
His eyes flared with heat. They were close enough now for Quinn to see that ribbon of green gold around
his pupil glow bright. She locked her knees and clutched her hands together beneath the edge of the bar to keep
from grabbing him.
“You’re using my name again? Since when?”
“About a week ago,” she admitted, her voice small.
“For hell’s sake, why?”
Because I’m on the run from the Russian mob and the only place I’ve ever felt safe was with you.
Yeah, like either of them was prepared to detonate that cans of worms.
She forced herself to shrug. “I like the cadence.”
His hands spread wide on the wood. She half expected him to vault right over the bar. “You like the
cadence?” he hollered back, practically in her face.
She huffed out a breath. “It’s not like I expected you to find out about it! What are you doing here
anyway?”
He tossed an incredulous glance at McBain as though the answer were obvious. And to be fair, it kinda
was. “Searching for buried treasure.”
Despite his dry tone, Quinn’s eyes went wide at the thought of such an adventure. “Really?” she breathed.
“Jesus, no. I’m working security for the wedding.” He shook his head with familiar exasperation. “Christ,
you look ready to abandon everything to go buy shovels and rent a trawler.”
“Ah, is this gonna be a problem?” McBain asked.
Slowly, Jasper eased back from the bar. “That remains to be seen.” Quinn could see he was already
locking himself down, pulling those pesky emotions back under his control. He’d always been able to get over
her so easily when she’d barely been able to let him walk out of a room without her.
Guess nothing had changed on that front.
“What are you doing here, Quinn?”
Irritation quickly replaced her shock, and Quinn reclaimed her attitude along with it. “Uh, working.
Obviously.”
“And I’ve no doubt my wife would appreciate it if your impending domestic didn’t upset her high-society
wedding,” McBain warned without heat.
Quinn zoned back in on the unfinished tab before her. “Shit. Nettie, I’m sorry. Let me get you sorted.”
The waitress eyed her with rampant speculation. Quinn expected she and Jasper would be tasty fresh meat
for the locals when this got out. Say in five minutes. Or however long it took Nettie to speed dial the whole
world as she knew it.
Charity would have a cow not to have had first dibs.
“Don’t worry about it, hon,” Nettie reassured her, but Quinn was already dumping the trio of cocktails.
“These margaritas have settled. Take the wine out while I whip up a fresh batch.” Running the blender
would hold off Jasper’s impending interrogation, too, maybe long enough for her to come up with an explanation
that didn’t involve the words “Russian mob” and “murder.”
Because there was no way he was letting it go that easily. Jasper McQueen did not quit until he got what
he wanted, be it answers or his ring on her finger or her ass in his San Diego condo.
“Queen, you and Twist stay here for the duration of the dinner. Rotate out with one of the boys in the
dining room on the hour,” McBain ordered. “Time for me to walk the perimeter.”
She threw a look at him over her shoulder in time to see him give Jasper a shoulder clasp of male
solidarity.
Great. He had reinforcements.
“More bartenders are coming tomorrow with the catering staff for the wedding,” she explained needlessly
after McBain exited and Nettie toddled off. “But I’m it for tonight’s dinner, so I don’t have time for a chat.”
“I’ll wait,” Jasper promised.
Of course he would. “Ho-kay then.”
Since she couldn’t budge him and had zero hope of ignoring him, Quinn focused on the work. She finished
the margaritas as Nettie returned with a new order, all the while feeling Jasper’s accusing gaze locked on her,
his eyes tracking her every move as though she’d disappear if he blinked.
God, he looked good enough to eat.
Down girl. He wasn’t hers anymore, and while she might still look, not being able to touch would
probably kill her before the Russian mob did.
* * *
“So!” Twist broke into the charged silence with his usual delicacy. “How’d you crazy kids meet?”
“Vegas,” Jasper growled. “The last time you forced me on vacation. And no, it did not ‘stay there’.”
Twist’s disbelieving gaze switched back and forth between Jasper and Quinn. “That was only a long
weekend. You’re telling me you met and got married in four days?!”
Said like that, it sounded as nutso as it was. But Jasper had taken one look at Quinn in the bar of the
Bellagio that first night and knew there was no one else for him.
Shockingly, she’d felt the same.
For a little while.
Betrayal battled with rage for dominance and beat down the fuckin’ thrill that’d ripped through his chest
when he’d first realized Quinn was within reach again. He barely stifled the urge to drag her over the bar and
handcuff them together before she could leave him again.
He reached for his frayed control and found it in tatters. That had been the case with Quinn from the start.
The moment he laid eyes on all that was her—tits and ass and so much infectious attitude, she nearly vibrated
with it—he’d been wild for her.
Christ, two minutes around her and already she was driving him mad.
And he didn’t need an audience for that madness.
“You’re not being paid to guard that bar stool,” Jasper pointedly reminded his friend.
“Jeez, bring a guy to paradise for a vacation, and all he wants to do is work.”
“Vacation starts after we’re done with this job. A job that has to pay for that vacation given we’re on
enforced leave without pay.”
“You’re on what?!” Quinn said, pausing in her drink mixing to gape at him and Twist.
Jasper stifled a wince. Quinn had a rabid curiosity streak and tended to dig in exactly where he didn’t
want her. “Leave it.”
“Whoops,” Twist taunted. “Cat’s outta the bag.”
“You can cut that shit out at any time.”
“It’s hardly top secret intel. Unlike your marriage, apparently.”
Quinn grabbed a bottle of triple sec and shot him a look. “I know, right?!”
Jasper’s head tipped back so he investigated the ceiling. “And now you’re bonding. Spectacular.”
“Hey, pal, you’re the one who went to Vegas, married a superhot chick, and hid it from everyone you
know, including me. Inquiring minds wanna know.”
“I wanna know.” Jasper heard the anonymous mutter in his ear piece and realized with embarrassed shock
that he and Twist were still on coms. Christ, they were all a bunch of gossiping women.
He ripped the mechanism out of his ear and threw it across the room where it shattered a vase so
violently, Twist jumped. “Maybe you could do me a solid and hold off until after I find out how the wife I
haven’t seen or heard from since she ran out on me a year ago winds up in Barefuck Bay the exact day we do!”
That brought Quinn’s chin up. “Ex-wife,” she reminded him, unruffled by his uncharacteristic display of
temper. “And you left me first.”
Jasper’s hands curled into fists. The gall of the woman! “I was on a mission,” he gritted out between
clenched teeth, blood on a fast boil. “For my country.”
“Yeah, well, next time have the courtesy to let your wife know you’re leaving before you disappear for six
weeks!”
He set his feet and crossed his arms and practically read her mind when she swept him up in a glance and
smirked. The Patented Jasper McQueen Stubborn Stance. “Terrorists aren’t known for giving advanced notice,
babe. We go where we’re commanded to go, and when the intel comes in or the embassy is attacked or the
hostages are taken, we go fast. And it was eight weeks, which you would know if you had bothered to stick
around!”
Her eyes narrowed. “Maybe I would have, sweetheart, if I hadn’t found out from some reluctant secretary
at the yard when I called trying to find you that you didn’t even bother to tell the Navy you got married!”
Jasper’s retort was stymied by the beep of his watch alarm marking the hour. He hit the off button and
ordered Twist, “Go relieve Rocco.”
“We don’t switch out for another thirty.”
“Find something to do,” Jasper snarled. “Somewhere else.”
Twist made a show of getting up. “Sure I shouldn’t stick around in case you suddenly need an alibi?”
“Don’t need an alibi, ’cause when I kill you, it’ll be justified.”
“You love me. You know it.” He winked at Quinn, and then scuttled back as Jasper took two menacing
steps in Twist’s direction. “Calm down, Queen, I’m going. Gotta line up a bridesmaid anyway now the hot
bartender is off the market.”
“You should go with him,” Quinn advised after Twist had cleared the doorway, shutting the wooden
panels behind him to close them off from the party.
But Jasper had just realized this was the perfect chance for him to find out what the fuck went so wrong in
their marriage that she scuttled away like a fugitive without so much as talking to him. Had he pushed too fast for
too much? Had he frightened her? Or was it merely that he’d been her next wild ride and she’d never loved him
in the first place? It’d torn him up for months, wondering what he had done that was so wrong he chased away
the love of his life.
But now she was here. Now, he would know.
He planted his feet again, hands on hips. “Not going anywhere till I get some answers.”
It helped that the rehearsal schedule worked in his favor. The rehearsal guests had finally tucked into their
entrees making a break from cocktail orders. The wait staff made similar use of the lull and efficiently prepped
tables for the next course in the other room, which meant he and Quinn would be effectively alone in the bar
until the dinner ended.
He saw the moment Quinn realized he had her trapped.
She took a step back, grabbed the ledge behind her, and leaned back against her hands. The position thrust
her chest forward and lifted the edge of her blouse even further away from her low-slung trousers.
Rock, meet hard place.
Jasper knew she was too pissed at him to be deliberately trying to arouse him, but that didn’t reduce the
size of his reaction.
“Oh yeah?” she replied and fuck him, her sneer was such priceless Quinn attitude that, in spite of himself,
he had to fight off a grin and get a tighter rein on his hard on. “Like what?”
“Like why you’re using my name again when you told me—through the lawyers, because God forbid you
should talk to me—how eager you were to shed every trapping of being married, including my name.”
She shrugged. “I changed my mind.”
That ratcheted up his simmering rage so fast, he almost put his fist into the bar.
His narrowed gaze swept her from top to bottom. Her cheeks were flushed, enough that he could see the
heated flesh even in the dim light of the bar. She dodged his eyes too, which was a very un-Quinn thing to do…
unless she was trying to hide something from him. “Cut the crap, Quinn. You in trouble?”
His jaw clenched when her face went blank. That quick, she’d shut him out. If not for her body’s reactions
—reactions he suspected she had no clue she was giving him—he’d have thought her unmoved by his return.
“It’s really none of your business.”
“Bullshit.”
That cracked her mask. Irritated, her shoulders squared off. “Where the hell do you get off?”
“Where do I get off? Are you fucking kidding me?”
“No, Jasper, I am not fucking kidding you,” she said with an exaggerated patience that ramped him up
even more. “We are divorced. Dee-vorced. Who and what I am is no longer your concern.”
That did it. Jasper could practically hear the tether of his control snap as he vaulted over the bar, locked
his hands on her hips, and yanked her against him.
Her hands flew up on a gasp, but he was too fast for her to push him away, and they got caught instead
against his chest. Jasper took advantage of her open mouth and swooped in.
Her taste was narcotic. His mind fogged over and the burn in his chest exploded as he drank deep.
Somewhere along the way that day, she’d indulged in a shot of rum. He licked the spicy flavor from her lips and
dived deeper.

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Caught by surprise, Quinn had no time to put up her shields, shields she’d held fast even when he’d been
deep inside her, so he owned her mouth from the start and rubbed his tongue against hers in a slow rhythm that
belied his raging lust. She always wanted to rush to the finish and never more than when they were having sex,
laser focused on her orgasm and ready to get on with it. So he would bridle that instinct and instead prime her
with slow teases of what she’d get when he had her naked and spread for him. Blissful torture that only his
brutal training to become a SEAL had allowed him to endure, but she’d always, always, made it more than
worth it.
This time, slow was going to have to wait for round two.
Or three.
He lifted his mouth to give them half a second to catch a breath, nipping once at her bottom lip because he
couldn’t stand to lose her taste even for that long. She exhaled loudly through her nose and then took the
offensive, and it was her tongue in his mouth staking claim and filling Jasper with exultant satisfaction.
My wild lady.
One of her hands slid under his pit to grab his lat while the other plunged up into his hair to hold him to
her. The movement put them chest to chest and Jasper groaned as the hard points of her nipples poked him
through their shirts. She lifted her lips, tilted her head, and kissed him again, the new angle deeper and
astoundingly more intimate.
Crushed between them, her necklace rattled against his chest until it gave up the battle and split apart,
crashing pearls to the ground like scattered hail. He felt her back-of-the-throat whimper in his dick and squeezed
the bounty of her hips. She followed his silent direction by boosting her ass up onto the ledge so he could bump
her knees wide and finally, finally, shove his hard cock into the cradle of her covered pussy after being denied it
for twelve…fucking…months.
His arms crisscrossed the small of her back, brushing the edge of those low-slung pants so that his thumbs
skirted the top of her ass. He held her tight enough to make breathing a chore, and he didn’t care, he didn’t care
one damn bit, they could suffocate from kissing and that’d be fine by him, because he knew the second he set her
free, she’d be gone.
And he would not lose her again.
And then, as suddenly as it began, the kiss was over. They stood there, clutching each other, mouths as
close as possible without connecting, breathing heavily in shared astonishment, each unwilling to be the first to
shatter the moment and bring hard reality back to crash around them.
I missed you. The words ripped through Jasper’s soul. He’d missed her mouth, her tits, her pussy, her
deep brown eyes, the scar on her chin, her sharp tongue, and her ridiculous sense of humor. He missed how she
held him and how she took him and how she got him better than anyone, even Twist. He’d hear a pun and think to
text it to her knowing she’d never met one she didn’t like, only to painfully remember he’d blocked her number.
He’d go to a bar and expect to see Quinn behind it, so he stopped going out except when called to untangled a
teammate, and that immediately put Maverick back in his mind, and fucking hell, he did not need that right now.
She’d turned his world effervescent so that it fizzed with joy and laughter, like one of her drinks,
showered him with wild beauty and then wrenched it all away to leave him feeling utterly abandoned, something
he hadn’t experienced since his adoptive parents returned him to foster care only to keep his two younger
brothers as their own.
I missed you.
But Jasper knew better than to say that to Quinn. And that hole she’d left behind that had ached in his chest
for twelve long months rang hollow with renewed loss.
“You still kiss like a wet dream,” he muttered instead.
It was a mistake. Quinn immediately went stiff with insult and tried to yank free of him, but she’d never
been a match for his strength—though always more than a match with her tongue—and he braced to get the edge
of it and not in the way he wanted.
Instead, when his arms locked her in place, a deeply wounded look seeped into her dark brown eyes, eyes
that yet shimmered from their kiss. It pierced past betrayal and abandonment to stab Jasper right in his aching
heart. “You’re a son of a bitch, you know,” she whispered.
That was truer than she could realize. His hands cupped her jaw. I missed you. “What trouble are you in,
Quinn?” he asked again. His thumbs brushed her racing pulse, coaxing her to capitulation.
Not that it made a dent in his determined wife. She blinked, erasing any hint of that rare vulnerability, and
said, “Honestly, it’s none of your business,” and Jasper was done.
Enough fucking around. His fingers dug a bit deeper into her skin, enough that her mouth popped open
with an invitation he’d bet she didn’t realize was on offer. “Everything about you is my business, and you’re
gonna stay my business until one of us stops breathing no matter what goddamn name you’re wearing when we
do.”

In Praise of the Wild Man

16 May

Be honest. Are you really that attached to civilization?

By Alexa Day

Civilization. It’s a nice place to visit, but living there has its ups and downs. So many rules. Conventions. And it’s insidious. You might not think you play by society’s rules, but if you have an opinion about the man bun, you are closer to society than you suppose.

Enter the wild man. The unprincipled savage. He might be a little unkempt — hell, sometimes, he’s downright filthy. But he can be a breath of fresh air.

You guys thought of Daryl first, didn’t you? Don’t lie.

Daryl Dixon, of The Walking Dead, is proof positive that the wild man has a hold on civilized lady viewers. Daryl doesn’t even exist in the graphic novels upon which the show is based. Indeed, he all but admits that his life before the zombie apocalypse was basically non-existent. No job. No purpose. And yet we threaten to riot if harm should befall this person with no history.

Daryl’s an unrepentant redneck, in the best possible way. While others whine about the quality of canned food post apocalypse, he’s good with a squirrel or a snake or half of a rabbit from a few days ago. And he takes some measure of pride in being filthy. Avoiding a long overdue shower in Alexandria gave him some pleasure, I think.

But we love the Dirty South’s dirtiest representative because he’s genuine. His code is his own. He’s not one to just say something to make a person feel better. (He lied to Carol once, sure, but he did it because he was the only one to recognize that she was too vulnerable for the truth.) He can relate to civilization without being swayed by it, so when he makes a moral judgment, people listen to him. And he has so little regard for polite society that it’s heart-squeezing to watch him getting attached to anyone. There might not ever be a place in our civilized world for Daryl. But when he makes a space in his loner’s heart for someone, it’s a pretty big deal.

Wilder than Daryl and yet inexplicably clean is the ultimate wild man, Tarzan. Unlike the redneck with the heart of gold, Tarzan was once part of high society. He’s chosen to spend his life away from civilization, both European and African, and make a solitary home for himself in the jungle. For the women of his day — well, for some of them, anyway — Tarzan presents a potent lure. He’s an attractive, virtuous man who won’t force them to respect civilization’s restrictive rules because he doesn’t live that way himself. He lives far from anyone who would judge, shame or diminish him, and his chosen mate would share that world with him. Everyone — well, almost everyone — wins with Tarzan.

Because Romancelandia is, above all things, a world of abundance, many species of wild men populate its pages. Bearded mountain men. Tattooed bikers. Bare-knuckled fighters. Shifters of all kinds and varieties. All guys with both the will and the ability to carry us away from the many, many pointless worries and concerns that fill our everyday lives, despite our best efforts. Once the wild man’s gotten hold of us, we’ll forget all about that nail appointment, or whether we might have worded that email differently, or if the chicken breast is going to defrost by the time we get home. Okay, he’s not the sort of guy to arrange for top-shelf bottle service at your local high-end strip club, and I definitely want to make that happen at some point. But once your savage boyfriend makes all those frivolous distractions disappear, who knows what wild ideas might take their place?

Might I suggest a little nude photography? One of my wilder adventures.

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Speaking of wild adventures, this week is Suspense and Thriller week for the RONE Awards with In D’Tale magazine. My esteemed colleague Kiersten Hallie Krum is among the finalists for this year’s awards, with her book WILD ON THE ROCKS. Pop over to vote for her this week, and be sure to score your own copy of this hot story about a beach bartender and the SEAL who loves her. It’s only 99 cents. Isn’t that wild?

And because I want you to win something, too, make sure you collect our various wild confessions this week for a chance to win $10 in spending cash over at Amazon. You like spending cash, right?

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Something Wild This Way Comes

15 May

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

It’s Wild Week here at Lady Smut! We’re celebrating the nomination of my novel, Wild on the Rocks, by InD’Tale Magazine for their prestigious RONE (Reward of Novel Excellence) Award in the category Best Suspense/Thriller: Short.

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The first step of the RONE nomination process is the public voting stage. I ask you, Lady Smutters, to kindly support my book for this award. Please go to http://indtale.com/rone-awards-week-five now to cast your vote for Wild on the Rocks in the Best Suspense/Thriller: Short category.

But wait, there’s more!

Welcome to the Lady Smut Wild Scavenger Hunt!

All week long, the Lady Smut bloggers will be sharing one wild thing they’ve done and one wild thing they’d like to do but haven’t yet. Then, you, lovely Lady Smutters, post in the comments of this post all the “wild” things you hunt down on the Lady Smut blog posts this week. All who comment will then be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card giveaway along with a copy of Wild on the Rocks! You can also be entered for the raffle by posting a screen cap confirmation of your vote for Wild on the Rocks.

And be sure to check in with Lady Smut on Thursday when I’ll be posting a brand new excerpt from Wild on the Rocks!

Something Wild This Way Comes…

In my family and with most of my friends, I’m known as the wild one. I am usually the first one to climb out on the cliff, the first one to ask the question, the one willing to try anything–within reason. The first guy I brought home when I was fourteen wore a leather jacket. My mother took one look at him and said to my father, “we are in trouble”. (BTW the guy turned out to be a total tool and my mother never stop needling me about him.)

Being the designated wild one always amused me because I’ve actually always been the good girl, endeavoring to get it right, follow the rules–and I am always, always afraid. Afraid of doing it wrong, afraid of disapproval, afraid of a conclusion I can’t anticipate or control, afraid of being punished for breaking the rules, however wrong those rules may be, ultimately afraid of “getting in trouble”. My best friend once said “Kiersten wants to be a rebel, but she keeps getting tripped up by the rules,” an eerily accurate description for the dichotomy of my personality: the Wild Good Girl.

Age has helped me get over the idea that being good and following the rules is some kind referendum on my character. A decent part of my adult life has been allowing myself to be free of those rules, or, more specifically, not to allow those rules to keep me from taking risks with long-term benefits for myself simply because they may not be looked upon as the right thing to do and/or may benefit the one over the many. Men make such decisions all the time; it’s expected of them, but when a woman breaks out in such a way, when a woman behaves in a manner traditional ascribe to the man’s role, it’s received with decidedly less favor. Socially, we’re expected to be self-effacing and modest, inclusive and without ambition, nurturing and unselfish. Standing up for ourselves and doing things that ensure our own happiness regardless of the opinions or judgments of those around us takes courage and verve and the ability to live with any potential fallout. It is, in effect, a wild move.

One of the wildest things I’ve done in my life is to travel abroad alone. I’ve done this twice–to Ireland in 1999 and to Italy in 2001 (a few months prior to 9/11)–long before women travelling by themselves became a regular topic in the The New York Times’ Travel Section. I love to travel and wanted particularly to visit both these countries, had longed to do so for many years. But I was never able to find a friend or partner equally ready and/or able to take the trip. So I finally decided, the hell with it. I’ll go on my own then. I was no longer willing not to do something, not to achieve a dream, simply because there was no one to do it with me.

It doesn’t sound very wild, does it? Not in today’s global climate where we’re all interconnect and the world is Twitterfied. But remember, there were no smart phones back then (I left my flip phone at home–both times). I had a digital camera with panoramic capabilities and that was considered pretty damn special. When the loneliness broke me halfway through my first trip, I called my mother from a cell phone booth on the west coast of Ireland–on her AT&T long distance card. Social media did not exist. By the time I got to Italy, Internet cafes were prominent because email was commonplace, but the full might of the Web had yet to become the lifeblood of every home. So stepping off a plane into a country you never before been in where you know no one and, in the one case, don’t speak the language, and you aren’t sure exactly where you’re going or staying from night to night, trust me, it felt pretty wild at the time. These are the things on which episodes for Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders are based.

For the past two years, I’ve been on a journey of physical self-improvement. I didn’t like my life–specifically, the limitations put on it by my physical restrictions–so I decided to change it. It’s an ongoing journey that I often get wrong, but as I walked around downtown Toronto last weekend in the rain, without having to stop and catch my breath, without having to rest every 30 or so feet, without each step being filled with pain and effort, without sweat dripping down my face from the immense effort of walking a straight line, I reveled in getting it right this time. Enough now that I can go back to being more than a bit wild.

So what’s something wild I *want* to do. Well, that list has been getting longer and longer, but top line are two things: sky diving and learning to drive a motorcycle.

I’ve been parasailing and loved it, so sky diving seems my next natural progression. And, I love to fly in planes; how much more awesome to fly in the sky (with a parachute for landing, natch)? As for the motorcycle, remember that first leather-jacket clad boyfriend? Not like this hasn’t been coming for a long time. My love for MC romances is well documented here at Lady Smut, so it’s hardly a surprise. And why ride pinion when you can drive (outside of being able to hold tight to a hot biker, of course)?

With any luck, there’s all sorts of wild out there yet to come for my future.

Click on image to vote!

Tell me something wild about yourself, some crazy thing you’ve done or have always wanted to do. Be sure to keep track of all the wild goings-on here this week at Lady Smut. And remember to get out the vote by going to http://indtale.com/rone-awards-week-five and voting for Wild on the Rocks!

Follow Lady Smut. We bring a bit of wild to everything we do.

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, has been nominated 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.

Now available exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

 

 

 

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.

Never Have WE Ever Ever! Lady Smut Bloggers Reveal All…

3 May

You shared your fun, sexy secrets  — Now we’re sharing ours!

We just finished our game of NEVER HAVE YOU EVER EVER at Romantic Times and it was a blast!  Not to fear, RT orphans!–it’s your turn to play. Match our bloggers to their sexy/funny confessions below and you could win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

THE RULES: Read the questions & answers below.  All the bloggers answered all the questions in the same order every time. Match the answer color to the author.

Answer colors: Pink, Red, Blue, Light Green, Lavender, Orange, Dark Green, Red-Violet, Black.   Bloggers: Madeline Iva, Elizabeth Shore, Kiersten Hallie Krum (KHK), Isabelle Drake, Elizabeth SaFleur (ESF),  Alexa Day, Rachel Kramer Bussel (RKB), G.G. Andrew, Thien-Kim Lam (TKL).

Sample email: “Hi Lady Smut, here are my answers:  Pink is Isabelle Drake,  Red is KHK, Blue is Alexa Day…” Email us your answers at ladysmutblog@gmail.com.  The first person who guesses the blogger order correctly wins!

CONTEST CLOSES SATURDAY NIGHT, (MAY 6th) at 12pm PST!!!

1) Have you ever used a sex toy?

  • Yes, indeed, lots of them!

  • Possibly… though most of the toys around here are the kind that I trip over on the floor in the middle of the night. It’s true what they say: there’s nothing worse than stepping on a Lego at 2 a.m.

  • Does the earth rotate around the sun? That would be a yes.

  • Which ones *haven’t* I tried?

  • I had this nasty-ass clog in my bathroom sink. Couldn’t get even a drop of water to go through. So I grabbed my biggest, longest, whopper of a dildo – and I used that sex toy to pummel that drain into submission. Pounded hard–slap slap. Had that baby unclogged in seconds.

  • I’ve been single for a looooong time. You’re damn right I have. And my best friend knows exactly what to do about my “special box” in the event of my death…before my father finds it. She’s my equivalent of the Coupling pron buddy.

  • I am a sex toy virgin. Saliva is my go to sexual aide.

  • Yep. But I’m not going to tell you about that. I’m going to tell you about the time I was asked to review a set of sex toys. The box was sent to me; I took it to the office where I do my writing. There were so many, I wasn’t sure where to start. Maybe to some people five isn’t all that many, but for me it was a little intimidating. I laid them out on the table beneath a big window, so I could look them over to get inspired. You know what I mean. A couple days later, the maintenance guy lets me know the blinds he ordered for the big window had come it, and that he was going to install them that day. Nope. I didn’t remember ‘the display’ spread out right beneath the window. That’s not completely true. I didn’t remember it –later. When I got home. Now,I remember it every single time I see him.

  • Yes, but only after he agrees to being used.

2) Have you ever had sex outside the bedroom — where?

  • On an airplane.

  • Maybe, but it’s a skill I could stand to work on. I’m very into multi-tasking and those lines at the DMV can get pretty long, amiright?

  • How much time do you have? Outside, hot tub, pool, beach, on a (stationary) motorcycle (for real), at a music festival, in a tent, against a tree, in the woods….

  • Bedroom, kitchen, living room, tennis court, but who’s counting?

  • Once I did it in my apartment’s second bedroom. So technically it was outside THE bedroom.

  • In college. Outside up against the wall of the chapel (no judging!).

  • In a pottery studio. Yes, a la the movie GHOST. So cheesy. Sigh. But the sex was smoking hawt.

  • On the beach, of course! You want to know the others? Read my stuff and guess.

  • Everywhere but the bathroom. I mean, no judgment, but the thought of actual sex in a bathroom is not for me.

3) Have you ever had a threesome?

  • Yes and they’ve been some of the best sexual experiences of my life, especially with a couple who were clearly in love.

  • Naw, too much work/people to think about/elbows to nudge me in the face.

  • In my dreams, yes. In reality—no.

  • I can neither confirm nor deny this.

  • Well, sometimes the cat looks on with the stink eye when I and partner have the naughty in full bloom. That’s three, right??

  • A very, very, very long time ago, when I was too young and inexperienced to understand a lot of things…or enjoy them for that matter.

  • No, but I enjoy living vicariously through my friends.

  • Nope.

  • I can’t get anyone to agree to my terms, so sadly, the answer is no.

4) Have you ever gotten sexual with a woman? –to what extent?

  • Yes, I’ve had one-night stands with women as well as relationships.

  • Nope. I’m neurotic enough by myself.

  • Yes. We’ll just leave it at that.

  • There was a reason the other wing on the floor of my college dorm was called Lesbian Lane.

  • The saleswoman at Victoria’s Secret once helped me pick out some new bras. We talked about panties, too. Low-rise hiphuggers versus cheekys. It was intense!

  • Nope. Strictly dickly.

  • Had to kiss a few women while “acting”. It felt strange kissing someone shorter and smaller…but…interesting.

  • Define sexual. Because I think the answer is going to be yes.

  • I have not. I think I am the elusive Kinsey Zero.

5) Have you ever done something where you’ve slapped your hand to your forehead later and said–“I can’t believe I did that!” Some deets pls.

  • Definitely. If I told you, I’d have to kill you though. Just kidding. Short version: Gone out with a stranger because I was impressed with their 15 minutes of fame, then kept the date going into the bedroom even though they turned out to be really weird (they brought their assistant on our date, for one thing).

  • Many, many times, but almost none of them sexual.

  • Yes. I had sex with a married man believing he was single. The bastard.

  • All the time. You mean with sex? There was the one time I fell off the bed right in the middle of my horizontal polka.

  • OK, so. I had this incredible craving for grapes one time. The red kind, cause I find the green ones a little too tart. Know what I mean? So I’m in my car and I’m really close to Whole Foods, like a few blocks away close. Shop Rite, where I should be going, was considerably farther. I was like some grape addicted junkie needing my fix, so I just said “f**k it, I’m going to Whole Foods.  I bought the grapes, but they were like $7.99 a pound versus 2.99 a pound at Shop Rite. The cashier told me I owed almost $25 for all the bleepin’ grapes I just bought, and I smacked my forehead and said, I can’t believe I just did that!

  • There’s stuff I’ve done from decades ago that still makes me cringe…and some from last week. But nothing sexual.

  • That time we were messing around and I got sperm in my eye. Swear I felt wiggling. It really stung. Like, for an hour at least.

  • Are we still talking about sexual stuff? There was a time I attempted to sit on a bar stool and fell…and another time I got a job at ‘being” the Easter Bunny at the mall.

  • I don’t know if you mean this in a good or bad way. This happened to me in a good way. I still can’t believe this happened. Some time ago, I met a trio of military folk from the Army Officer Training School, which is not far from home. One of them sat down next to me at a bar. Turns out he was celebrating his thirtieth birthday. At the time, I could still see thirty in the rearview mirror, but it was very small and receding quickly. The officers and I went dancing, and I eventually went home with the birthday boy. This is not the shocking part of the story. The birthday boy invited me to a party. A pool party. A pool party with lots and lots of hot, shirtless, young, newly minted Army officers. I kept expecting to wake up. We played a couple of drinking games (my first time playing Flip Cup). It was apparently some sort of tradition for guests to be carried to the pool by their hot, shirtless hosts and tossed in, even if those guests are wearing short, filmy sundresses. You know, the sort of thing that sticks to you after you’ve been tossed into a pool. Important lesson: Study the social traditions of one’s hosts before attending their party. Fortunately I was able to borrow some clothes for the long drive home. I wrote an epic poem about this party. Sometimes I still don’t quite believe it actually happened, but I still have the borrowed clothes to remind me. Good times, good times.

6) Have you ever gotten kinky — was it enjoyable?

  • Yes. I’ve been tied up in a dungeon with someone else and gotten spanked in front of a roomful of people.

  • I’m not sure what “kinky” even means anymore. One woman’s kink can be another’s Saturday Night Special.

  • Yes. See earth reference.

  • I’ll try (almost) anything. Twice.

  • One time I fed my cats and I had no clothes on. Not even a stich!

  • Kink is in the eye of the beholder. But generally, no. I’m adventurous, but overall, mostly the usual. Especially compared to the Lady Smut crew.

  • Yes we get kinky, and f*** yeah,…it’s awesome!

  • The answers are yes and yes. If it wasn’t a good time I wouldn’t have done it. What’s that? You want details? I wish I could offer some but I’m not the get kinky and tell sort of girl.

  • Possibly the kinkiest thing I’ve ever done (and yes, I am reframing the question) is to be hooked up to a TENS unit. This was at another kind of party. The sensation is really intriguing. Kind of like having one’s muscles gently twisted this way and that beneath the skin. A strange, fluid feeling. Very pleasant. All things considered, the TENS unit isn’t all that kinky. My host hooked the TENS unit up to my shoulder, under my dress. But a lot of people are all about being hooked up in other places, if you know what I mean. If you get the picture.

7) Have you ever done “something”–wink wink, nudge nudge–with more than one person on the same day (but you know, NOT at the same time.)

  • I have but I actually wound up feeling really guilty about it because it wasn’t planned.

  • I gotta be honest: this question kind of exhausts me.

  • Yes. Yes, and yes again.

  • I’d tell you, but I’d have to kill you.

  • Yeah. Next question please.

  • A lady leaves the dance with the man who brought her.

  • Three dates with three separate guys in one day. Even **I** can’t believe that happened.

  • Do the characters in my books count?

  • I have not. Usually, if I’m with one person, it doesn’t leave enough time for ‘something’ with another person on the same day. I am, however, a huge proponent of dating more than one man at a time, each on his own night, until one of them starts looking like a really good idea.

8) Have you ever read someone else’s blog post on Lady Smut and thought: “Hoo boy! That was hot/interesting/made me feel squidgy inside.” — Which blog post was it?

  • This one: Cum On Are You Gonna Swallow That 

  • I’m not sure about squidgy, but the sex robot posts are always interesting! As are the posts about hot villain characters. Hot villain characters are what makes American great.

  • Yes. A lot of the spanking posts in the spanking category do it for me.

  • Hoo boy! That was hot/interesting/made me feel squidgy inside –That’s not one of the Lady Smut posts!

  • Now that would be telling… So many. Hard to choose.

  • I’m into posts on men. Bald men, sexy older men, and the occasional post-apocalyptic Viking.

  • I have to say Alexa’s post on Sharing Sexy Secrets just about killed me when I read it yesterday…Lexi and Elizabeth Shore get really edgy, and I lurv it! 

  • Oh geez. Lots of them. Learning about, thinking about, new stuff always gets me stirred up. Not just the steamy things, but anything “thinky” gets my attention. Comfort and stability are great, but mixing things up in conversation, and other places, matters to me.

  • You guys are fantastic, and all your posts are fascinating. But I’ve never been tingly.

9) Imagine someone is holding a gun to your head and you now have to choose a sexual activity you’ve never quite gotten up the nerve to try before. What would it be? The upside: you get to pick the hot sex partner.

  • A threesome with two guys.

  • I’d be too nervous to say–there’s a gun to my head!

  • A three-some with Jason Momoa and David Gandy and they can do *anything* they want to me.

  • The fantasy of two men is real but I’d never feel safe enough to do it. I’m totally boring as I don’t fantasize about hot celebrities. Though I never turn away eye candy, champagne, and ropes.

  • Hot partner of choice would be Dwayne Johnson. But that’s not gonna happen. The Rock doesn’t fear no stinkin’ imaginary gun!

  • Hugh Jackman circa 2007 is my reward for all the unbelievable crap I endured in early aughts and beyond. In a hot tub. The rest would be organic evolution from there.

  • After watching the Man From U.N.C.L.E I thought long and hard about several m/m/f scenarios in which I was the filling in a Henry Cavill/Armie Hammer sandwich. But who didn’t? ; > 

  • If I was feeling sassy, I might suggest doing it with a robot. If I was feeling risky, I might suggest a werewolf. Rugged? A cowboy. You get the idea, its going to depend on my mood.

  • It’s a better use of that imaginary gun to put it to his head. I suspect he’ll need to get up his nerves more than I do.

10) What is the most shocking sexual thing you’ve ever done–that you’re willing to tell us?

  • This is a tough one! The very first sex party I ever attended I lay on a kitchen counter while a metal sex toy that had been in the freezer was used on me. That probably counts.

  • I’m willing to tell you–for a price. I accept PayPal.

  • Sex at a NYC play party with 200 people around, some within inches of us.

  • First I’ll need a pitcher of margaritas.

  • That I’m willing to tell? See above re Victoria’s Secret.

  • All the shocking sexual things I do are done in my head and in my books…for now.

  • My Sweetie and I spent a lot of time naked in our bed post-sex with the covers on.  For some reason, our apartment mates often came into our room and hung out while we were in this state. This is back when we shared an apartment with a revolving cast of characters. Why was our room so popular? Why didn’t we just get out of bed and get dressed once in awhile? IDK.

  • See answer to number 6.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever been shocked by any sexual thing I’ve ever done.

Thanks for playing, folks! One caveat–what happens on the blog stays on the blog.  We reserve the right to deny everything in person. ; > Let us know what you enjoy about sharing sexy secrets below in the comments section. Follow us at Lady Smut! Subscribe to our saucy monthly newsletter!  And thanks so much for bringing joy and friendship to our blog. We luvs you, readers.  🙂

It’s RT Week and the Sexy Is High

1 May

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

The RT Booklovers convention burns through Atlanta this week, a hot time in the old town tonight. This is an inauguration year at RT for Lady Smut, and, in true Lady Smut style, we’re kicking it off with the “Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever” special reader event filled with crowns and swag…and sexy confessions. Later in the week, those of us here at Lady Smut who are not blessed enough to be attending with share a few naughty confessions of our own with you lovely readers. So be sure to keep checking in with Lady Smut as we work to bring the sexy all week long…in Atlanta and beyond.

While our intrepid bloggers are winging their way southward to the RT convention, I’ll be headed to the Great White North for a long weekend in Toronto. Speaking of Toronto, how in the WORLD did I miss these hilarious ads from Harlequin? What ads, you say? I’m glad you asked…

They may not be Ellora’s Cavemen, but a  Toronto-based advertising company has put together these fantastic ad campaigns for Harlequin Books featuring every woman’s current favorite hero: the viking and the cowboy. Have you ever wanted to go bowling with a six foot six viking? Or have a romantic mid-day lunch with a hot cowboy–horse and all? Well, these ladies are living the dream.

The ladies are professional actors who are in on the joke–and comfortable with improvising–but it’s the expressions on people’s faces as they watch the date unfold that kill me, especially when the viking lifts the woman’s leg up to put on the bowling shoe. And the looks they get when they start making out after Viking man bowls a spare? I giggled, I won’t lie.

Or maybe your dream has been to ride down the middle of a major metropolitan city on the back of a horse, arms wrapped around you cow-poking honey, who comes complete with chaps and a lasso? Rope ’em, cowgirl. When he flips the coat check girl at the swanky urban restaurant a quarter to stable his horse, I cracked up. Most of the lunchers in this one are women, so the looks our romantic couple garner here are much more of the envious variety. And really, who can blame them?

Want more Make A Date with Harlequin action? Head over to the “Make a Date with Harlequin” event at RT this week on Thursday morning from 8:30 to 9:45 AM. This is a chance for readers to meet their favorite Harlequin authors, but who know? Maybe there’ll be a viking or cowboy making a romantic appearance! Come back here to Lady Smut and tell me/us who showed up to make your morning!

This isn’t this ad agency’s first foray into the fields of romantic tropes on behalf of the romance novel publisher behemoth. Last year’s campaign was about how you could carry a myriad of romantic heroes in your moderately sized purse, helpfully sprucing up the hours of your humdrum life. What will they come up with next year? Paranormal in the boardroom?

The marketer in me is tickled purple by the campaign. The feminist in me has issues, and not only because these women think girly giggles are the way to go here. I’m not thrilled with the stereotype that women who read romance are on the plump and/or homey side of attractiveness, nor do I adore that the idea is that this romance is fantasy and not that romance is feminist fiction (because, it is). But I’m amused and entertained enough to let my feminist pique take a Diet Coke break.

Whatever direction you’re headed in this week–north or south–be sure to stick with Lady Smut all the way. If you’re at the RT conference, check out our Never Have You Ever, Ever party…and bring along your naughtiest confessions.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.

Now available exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

Her debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, has been nominated 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.

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!

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