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The Smart Woman’s Guide to Buying Sex Toys

12 Jun

cirillas.com

sex toys The idea of using sex toys is riddled with misconceptions. Mainstream society perceptions still keep them stuck somewhere between taboo and normality. The belief that they are the realm of single and lonely women doesn’t help, either.

If you are a young woman who has decided to explore sex toys as a new level of experiencing pleasure, information and support is often scarce. (Check out this guide for some good sex toy advice.) It might entail hesitant discussions with your besties or reading a naughty article or two on Google.

The process of choosing a toy to buy is often paired with embarrassment and the concern that people will think there is something wrong with your sex life that needs fixing. Well, this couldn’t be further from the truth! The whole purpose of sex toys is to enhance your love life, not fix it. So what do we girls really need to know in order to get the most out of our first sex gadget?

Figuring Out What Your Needs Are

If you already have an idea about the kind of thing you would fancy, good for you! But you probably wouldn’t be reading this article if that was the case, right? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Most people can’t immediately decide on what would be the best choice of a first sex toy. This leaves room for some self-reflection and an analysis of what you want and need the toy to do.

Do you want to use it alone or with a partner, is there a specific part of the body you would like to stimulate, do you want to be able to take it to the bath/pool with you or when travelling? And last but not least, what budget are you willing to set aside for the purpose? Try making a list of your expectations before you head for the sex shop.

What To Look For In A Toy

Once you have figured out what it is that you want, finding the right toy is easy, because there is a real abundance on the market. Unfortunately, there’s more than color and style to take into account, materials and functionality are actually the greater part of the equation.

https://www.cirillas.com/ recommends that whatever the toy, you should definitely make sure it is made of body-safe materials. A great choice would be silicone, because it is non-porous, hypoallergenic and easy to clean. Why non-porous? Dirt and bacteria enter porous materials, getting into difficult to clean areas, greatly increasing the risk of yeast infections. Silicone avoids that potential hazard. That said, a product that is easy to clean should probably come as the second most important criteria after safety. And the hypoallergenic part is self-explanatory. If you are prone to allergies, make sure you are not getting anywhere near a substance or material that might endanger your health and well-being.

In addition to paying attention to a toy’s appearance and make, don’t forget to buy something that excites you, rather than intimidates you. The bigger, the better is not the motto here. Actually, something small and discreet would be a great starting point. If it is safe, durable, and comes with manufacturer warranty, all the better.

sex toysThings To Avoid

Based on the strictly individual nature of the purchase, the list of things to avoid will mainly consist of the opposite of the abovementioned suggestions. A good tip would be mentioning phtalates and jelly toys, since the first are hazardous to your health, and the latter are porous.

Also, do your best to avoid cheap, low-grade materials. If a toy has an off-putting, chemical smell, chances are high it was made of toxic stuff that is going to break down over time and endanger your health.

Visiting A Sex Shop Vs Buying Online

How you are going to buy your toy depends on whether you need to check out the item in person, or if a good web review will do the job. If you need to ask the experts a few questions on how to use and look after your toy, then make sure you shop in person. Of course, there are always those who are too embarrassed to be seen at a sex shop or entering into a discussion their purchase with strangers. For them, buying online is a must and a solution to all problems.

Look for legitimate, popular or trusted web sites which have decent payment methods and look respectable enough. If a website looks like something’s not quite right, go somewhere else. And make sure you keep your invoice or receipt!

 

 

This is my bag. What’s yours?

8 Jun

The first purse I remember is my grandmother’s painted basket. It was made of brownbasket “straps” and painted with colorful buildings. I’d stare at the bright buildings and wonder who lived in them. What were their lives about? A single penny was glued to the fliptop lid. I thought it was completely wonderful and filled with grownup lady secrets. All these years, I still don’t know everything that was kept inside it. Here are the things I’m certain were inside: filterless Camels, a lighter, and reading glasses.  My grandmother wore kitten heels, twin sets that she knitted herself and I wanted to be just like her.

The first purse I owned was a gift. It was yellow plastic, covered with flowers, and had a long shoulder strap. I have no idea what I kept inside it, but I do remember feeling like a grownup lady with it hanging from my shoulder.

vintage-coach-saddle-leather-handbag-purse-2-two-handles-zipper-tag-usa_1870685The first purse I bought was a brown leather Coach bag. It was heavy and plain but I loved it. This was back before discount malls, so it was seriously expensive. I bought it at department store using money I’d earned driving a Good Humor ice cream truck.  Inside I kept my Girl Scout date book, bright pink lipstick, and occasionally, the plastic army guys I used to line up on sidewalks and restaurant tables.

I own several bags now. A big everyday one, a basket I carry in the summer, a jeweled redred one I get out for special occasions–those are only a few. Every time I switch bags, I look at what I keep with me, think about what’s important to me. What do these smalls things say about my life?

Whatever you call it, a purse, handbag, pocketbook, it can be an expression of you and your life. Maybe it holds your secrets, maybe it holds twelve lipsticks or none.  Give us a shout in the comments, tell us about your bag and what’s inside.

04551739_zi_black

 

Isabelle Drake’s new release is Make Me Blush, an steamy beachread anthology. Get your copy on Kindle and other outlets.

 

 

The Ghost of Hot Relationships That Never Were

9 Apr

by Madeline Iva

Watching a scene in a movie, or an episode of a TV show I’m like that kid from the Sixth Sense–but instead of dead poeple I see whole story lines that aren’t actually there.  It haunts me day in and day out. Don’t get me wrong. We’re lucky to have so many interesting stories out on TV and in movies.  I’m enjoying them; I’m reveling in them.  Yet I also see a lot of hot-boinking-that-should-be-there-but-isn’t.  To you they’re invisible–but they haunt me. Is this a blessing? Or is it a curse? <Cue the spooky music.>

There are just so many good shows in which the hotness factor between characters should be invoked.  Let’s seance with this sad spectre–the Ghost of Hot Relationships That Never Were as it wanders down the corridors of Untold Passion & Secret Scandalous Hook Ups.

MASSIVE MASSIVE MASSIVE SPOILERS!!!!!!! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!!!!

Black Panther:

Michael B. Jordan played Erik Killmonger in Black Panther. Out of all the villains in Marvel Universe why did they kill off this one? Whyyyyyyyy? WHAT ON EARTH WERE THEY THINKING? Don’t they see the Loki potential here? With his ripped body, damned attractive face, and awwwwww story of heartbreak and loss as a young boy–it’s killing me. (Pun intended.)

The hint of dimples is what truly slays me.

Eric Killmonger is that Loki-ish anti-hero we lurv, no matter how many times he’s got “Kill Whitey” tattooed all over his body. (He doesn’t really. Just kidding. But you get the idea.) His character would draw everyone back movie after movie, sequel after sequel.  Someone go to the bottom of that waterfall and fish him out. Revive and rehabilitate that bad boy STAT!

While Hollywood is at it, I think you’ll agree hands down that Erik needs to get together with Okoye, AKA Danai Gurira AKA Michonne from Walking Dead.  Erik is hotness on a stick.  Okoye is the woman all humans bow down to.  I mean–did you see the movie? Yeah? Then you get it.  The movie would have been more realistic to me if Okoye had straightened Erik’s sh*t out in about ten minutes. Danai

Okoye needs to become Queen of Wakanda too, btw.  Ramonda, played by Angela Bassett may be worthy of ruling as well, and I didn’t have any problems with our super-hero, Black Panther. He was cute–incredibly cute.  He has a real “goodness to the core” super-hero vibe.  It’s just that clearly he needs to be out and about in the world.  His job is international.  But back home in Wakanda, Okoye is queen material.  She’s the f**king bad ass leader of all leaders.  Just calling it like it is, people.  As for Ramonda–well, see below.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: AKA Heather-Heather-Heather AKA Vella Lovell

I mean, I really like CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND overall.  Rebecca Bunch obsessively crushes out on a former flame named Josh, and goes to cray-cray stalker extremes often urged onward by our twisted societal values about a women’s worth.  But Heather, Rebecca’s neighbor-then-roommate is her polar opposite.  Tall, goy, hot and slacker-ish, Heather is instantly compelling to watch. With her vocal fry, colored hair extensions, and community college scholar wisdom she is the one I obsess over in this show.  Yes, I have a massive girl crush on Heather — and the actress who plays her recently expanded her career to movies.  She was probably the best thing in THE BIG SICK.  (And the writers of the BIG SICK should make a follow up about her character story. Can you say another Smart Indian Girl Rom-Com? Squeeeeee! Hasn’t anyone in Hollywood watched Bend It Like Beckam?)

Anyway Heather and Hector are now together in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.   Hector always was cute, if a bit oedipal, but he doesn’t get much face time on the show. We all know the two of them hooking up is really just an excuse to give us more Heather.

Though White Josh and Josh in the stripper scene were giving Nathaniel a run for his money,  Nathaniel’s character is pretty appealing.  The more he was into Rebekah, the more I was into him.  But clearly, he and Heather should be together.  They both are seemingly shallow but really good people with unexpected depths. They are both extremely sane despite recognizing their perverse impulses.  They are both vulnerable to romantic situations in which they’re being used.  I’m asking nicely— could they PLEAAAAAASE get together? Pretty please? And I mean really get together in a complicated, sweaty, guilty, dirty way — the way that Rebecca tends to get together with men on the show?

She’s just using you, Nathaniel. Can’t you see that?

If they can’t, I will totally accept Father Brah, played by Rene Gube as a Heather-Love-Interest substitute.  That guy is totally under-utilized in terms of hotness. Wasted actually.

BTW — did you expect Crazy-Ex to really go there with serious mental health issues? I didn’t. I’m pretty impressed. And making Rebecca the poster girl for BPD — whoa.  That mental disorder does not get a lot of sympathetic play.  So thumb’s up Crazy-Ex Girlfriend for going there, staying there, and then doing a song and dance number there.

The Good Place — This show is not for everyone, but I get off on weighing utilitarian counterfactuals against Kantian ethical theory.  The show is about someone mistakenly sent to heaven.  My version of heaven is Jianyu played by Manny Jacinto. Manny is divine. Manny and Kristen Bell would be too cute together as a couple.  Manny and Tiya Sircar would be too cute too.  I mean, can Jianyu just have his own spin off show next year? Something where yes, we see his cuteness factor, but also the other hot never-see-him-coming facets as well?

Meanwhile, I very much appreciate Elinor’s girl crush Tahani played by Jameela Jamil.  Tahani with her Amazonian posh presence gains a wonderful edge from Elinor’s girl-lust-crush.  If the creators of the show wanted to take relationships in that direction, I, as a fan, would happily follow.  Just sayin’.

Before I sign off though, let’s talk steam heat in terms of romance with age difference —

First of all, I would like to advocate for Angela Basset’s character Ramonda having a thing with M’Baku when she gets dropped off at M’Baku’s land.  M’Baku is played by Winston Duke, a 6′ 4″ drink of beef water.  He’s a wee bit Alpha for my taste — but even so…even so. His character has an unexpected sense of humor that slays.M'Baku

And I don’t care who you are, if Ramonda gets dropped off in your kingdom and you’re made to promise to protect her and make sure she’s “taken care of” –I mean, seriously, how could your mind not go there? It’s Angela Bassett, people. It doesn’t matter how old she gets. I think I spent the next fifteen minutes of the movie not hearing or seeing anything on the screen.  Instead I was still back at the toothy gorilla lair with M’Baku and Ramonda imagining how their forbidden sexual tryst would come about.  These moments are so obvious to me–am I the only one? Is anyone else seeing the possibilities here?

Back at The Good Place I also noticed that Tahani has fabulous chemistry with Michael, played by Ted Danson.  Yes, he’s like in his seventies or something, but still–they’re both dapper dressers.  In fact, they are too attractively tall together not to have hot sex/romance.   Maybe they seem to connect because they’re the only two tall enough to look each other in the eye.  Maybe it’s something more.  But I think they should work it.  Torture Tahani with the tantalizing promise of a ‘daddy’ relationship figure that goes to a naughty places.  Let us live a little.The Good Place

The Upshot: Hollywood is having outstanding success with greater casting diversity.  At last.  Finally! Bravo. (The horror that’s going on behind the screens –that’s another blog post). Let’s all urge them to keep heading further in this direction.  Despite hot (and I mean that in more ways than one)  new talent, the boink factor is suffering.

There’s chemistry going on here, people!  My mind is a-buzz with all the variations and combinations to explore — I want jealousy and lust.  I want tenderness and taut sexual tension.  I also want some light kinky elements–is this too much to ask? I don’t think it is.

What relationships do you wish you were seeing in movies/tv shows that you love? Please sound off below.

Madeline Iva enjoys penning stories about reclusive guys with dark secrets in mouldering castles.  If you like your gothic gloom with a perverse twist join her cult following newsletter.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Call Me Darlin’

3 Nov

By Alexa Day

Darlin’.

It’s a popular term of endearment in Romancelandia.

I hate it.

The word darlin’ inspires in me the same disgust many people experience upon hearing the word moist. If I had to choose between the two of them (and please don’t make me do that), I might actually choose moist. I hate darlin’ just that much.

I’m not totally against pet names and such. Honey and sweetheart always sound condescending to me; perhaps this new Age of Sarcasm has sucked the sugar out of them. Speaking of which, I could be sold on Sugar, under the right conditions. I’d pick babe instead of baby. I like the idea of the secret nicknames that my special friend(s) and I might choose for each other. Hell, I wrote a short story in which the cowboy hero called the birthday girl Sugar Tits. Perhaps a bit coarse for some people’s tastes, but the heroine didn’t mind it one little bit.

Sugar Tits, coming from the right mouth with the right intent, would sound like music. Hot, sexy music. The kind a woman tells stories about later. Darlin’ lacks that potential.

But why?

Maybe it’s the newish trend of assigning cutesy-boo nicknames to things that once bore more straightforward nomenclature. Ghosting and submarining, for example, refer to specific classes of behavior that we used to call fuckwittage, or simply being an ass, back in my day. (For those unfamiliar, ghosting is when someone disappears in the middle of an established pattern of communication, forming in the early stages of courtship. Submarining is when the ghost suddenly reappears as if he had not been an ass in the first place.) I guess a single girl is more likely to read advice about how to handle submarining than she is to seek insight about what to do when a man is being an ass. No one wants to feel responsible for communicating with an ass. Still, calling it submarining or ghosting or whatever makes this fuckwittage sound like normal, acceptable behavior.

Darlin’ strikes a nearby nerve. It sounds like baby talk to me. Something women think men say. Something a little phony. The kind of thing a man calls a woman when he doesn’t remember her name. My knee-jerk reaction upon reading it is to wonder what led this man to call this woman darlin’. Where did he hear it? Isn’t it straight out of country songs and black-and-white movies?

As I was taking my notes for this part of the post, I thought of my esteemed colleague, award-winning author Kiersten Hallie Krum. In my mind’s eye, I could see her smiling and shaking her head. In my mind’s eye, Kiersten called bullshit.

If Jason Isaacs called you darlin’ just one time, Kiersten said, I bet you would abandon this line of complaints forever.

She’s not wrong. Two weeks ago, I did a giddy little dance while throwing six dollars plus a generous tip at my television. (That’ll make more sense if you click here.)

There’s also a rumor that looking directly into Jason’s eyes renders one susceptible to suggestion. So I suppose that if we were looking right at each other, I would not be inclined to make much fuss over darlin’. I’d prefer Sugar Tits, but it should be noted that no one has asked about my preferences in that regard, least of all Jason himself.

This is an exceptional case, though. It matters, but it doesn’t alter the general rule.

Don’t call me darlin’. Or Sugar Tits, just to be safe. Maybe avoid honey and sweetheart. The sound of my own name, on a familiar tongue, is endearing enough.

For now.

Follow Lady Smut.

Curious about that Sugar Tits story? Well, signing up for my newsletter is the only way to learn how a woman goes looking for a mechanical bull and ends up finding a hot cowboy. Click here for that win-win story and the fast track to news about my new releases, free reads, and other exclusive content. See you there, darlin’.

Lord of the Ropes

12 Jul

Shibari

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

By A.C. Rose

What is it about ropes?

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

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

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

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

He also teaches rope safety in the book.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click to buy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find A.C. Rose on the web:

Website
http://acroseauthor.net/

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

A Dirty Job Calls For Dirty Sex…Heroes Who Drive a Tractor

6 Jul

Click to buy.

by Madeline Iva

Men who drive tractors kinda get me hot.  I like their competence combined with patience and persistence.  I’ve worked on a farm. I’ve shoveled shit, stacked hay bales, emptied ice out of water buckets with a hammer.  Hard muscles come from daily physical labor, and a soul-aching beauty from the quiet surroundings. Yet ripping treasure from the soil is never easy. There’s a psychological hardiness men on tractors require. A serious weather event at the wrong time can ruin an entire crop in a matter of hours.  The farmer must resign himself to fate, bow his shoulders before mother nature, and plow on.

There’s a whole new generation of men and women in their twenties and thirties who are junking the city life and headed for the fields.  Will they stick with it? What happens to us all if they don’t? In the real world only 1% of the U.S. population farms now.  I think I read somewhere the average age of farmers in America is, like 67, or something. We need a new generation of young farmer heroes more than ever.

Sarina Bowen’s book BITTERSWEET and Adriana Anders book IN HIS HANDS both contain hot men who drive tractors. Here’s more about them–plus some extra goodies.

I found out about Sarina Bowen’s book after Adriana Anders wrote this HEA blog on BEGINNER’S GUIDE  TO DARK GRITTY SEXY READS. “…if you like rugged, hard-bodied farmers (and Lord knows I do), then Bittersweet will be your poison.”

Okay then!  Ya hooked me, Adriana.  I just started the book myself–here’s a blurb:

BITTERSWEET

Farmers make the earth move.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous cider-making lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

Oh, hey: Read the first chapter!

I also found this on Sarina Bowen’s website — a breakdown of all her books by their tropes.  Hilarious–but useful too, if you’re looking for a certain kind of read. (Ooooh look: virgin heroes!)

Click to buy.

Adriana, meanwhile, has quite the farmer-boy hero: he’s burly, beardy, and brooding.  I love a romance that starts off with that kind of desperate feel, and a hero guy who’s doing his own thing and just wants to be left alone. Luc is also French and grows grapes.  So, you know, sexy and sophisticated.  And dirty.  Yum!

I buzzed straight to the part of her website that said:  Need some sexy winemaker hero inspiration to tide you over? Check out Luc’s Pinterest Board here!

So, um, that’s where I’ll be for the next hour. ; >  IN HIS HANDS has gotten a **lot** of good reviews.  You can’t go wrong with the other books in Adriana Anders’ series either — a fav of mine is BY HER TOUCH.  Another super-broody hero–this time, he’s got tattoos, a motorcycle,  a secret, and bad men out to find him.

[BTW, even though it’s a series–cause it’s all taking place in the same area with a few cross-over characters–the books really stand alone,  I swear. So feel free to start with book three or book two if you want.]

IN HIS HANDS

Blank Canvas #3
He is Her Salvation…
Abby Merkley has been a member of the Church of the Apocalyptic Faith since she was a child, and there’s no way out–except death. She will fight the odds to survive, but there’s no one in the world she can trust, nowhere she can run that the cult can’t find her…until her handsome, brooding neighbor takes her into the safety of his arms.

Luc Stanek craves a quiet life. But he doesn’t hesitate when a desperate woman lands, bloodied and branded on his doorstep. Soon he finds himself drawn into her chaotic world, caught in the center of an apocalyptic war…and determined to save the fierce beauty no matter the cost.

Oh. My. God.

Hot beardy goodness and lots o Gerard Butler on Adriana’s Pinterest page. Click to go there.

Out August 1, 2017 

Follow us, dear readers, and we’ll pour the luscious fruits of our blogging labors in your lap every day.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Love and Money: On Paying for Companionship

20 Jun

It’s not always about the Benjamins.

By Alexa Day

Making the rounds in my corner of social media is the story of Heidy Pandora, a 24-year-old who says she is a full-time traveler. After her first trip to Mexico, she discovered she loved seeing different parts of the world. But travel is expensive. In fact, the hefty price tags kept Heidy from exploring the world as much as she wanted to.

Then she found MissTravel.com, a website for travel dating. In other words, Miss Travel connects people interested in journeying to a specific destination. Women can participate on MissTravel for free. Members propose a trip, connect with someone else interested in visiting the chosen locale, and then arrange to travel together or meet up at the destination.

Heidy says up front that she has sex with some but not all of her travel companions, and that some of them are married. She says she prefers the married guys because they’re less likely to become emotionally attached. She’s about getting stamps in her passport, not a ring on her finger.

She’s also serious about not paying to travel with the guys she meets online. MissTravel requires members to upload a photo (something all dating sites should do, in my opinion), and it allows members to state a preference not to pay for trips.

It bears mentioning that site founder Brandon Wade is also the founder and CEO of SeekingArrangement.com. SeekingArrangement, geared toward sugar babies and the folks who support them, touts something called Mutually Beneficial Arrangements. The fact that they’ve trademarked the phrase basically sums up the nature of the site.

The headline for Heidy’s story calls her a sugar baby. I’m not sure that’s a fair characterization. Heidy is meeting up with people who will pay to travel with her, with the possibility of sex along the way. For her, the travel is the point. For the sugar baby, it’s all about the money. Money flows directly to the sugar baby, and so far as I can tell, the sugar baby’s relationship is far more likely to be sexual.

The concept of sex as currency makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but women have been exchanging sex for things of value as long as there have been women and things of value. If we want to be cynical about it (and I do, thanks for asking), we might describe much of the history of marriage as the exchange of sex for things of value. I think it’s just uncomfortable for people to be confronted by it. We might all be happier if the sugar babies and paid travel companions were plying their trade quietly, where we can’t see it, instead of in social media. At the same time, there’s a reason — perhaps an ugly reason — that billionaire romances were doing so well until the events of last winter.

I’d tell you to hop on the Maestra bandwagon, but no way these folks use a bandwagon. Click to buy.

Heidy’s story reminds me of Maestra, a novel Elizabeth Shore recommended not long ago. Heroine Judith Rashleigh enters a world of paid companionship and finds herself very much at home, even when she’s on the run, among wealthy people who sweep her up into their world. Judith just has to know her place and do as she’s told, and off she goes from one exotic locale to the next, gathering cash along the way. But Judith is capable of much more than her comrades know. The inner play of her emotions and her motivations, sometimes quite at odds with her outward appearance, makes for fascinating reading.

(By the way, two of us at Lady Smut have now granted their imprimatur to Maestra. If you grab it now, you’ll be ready for the sequel, Domina, when it comes out next month.)

But what to make of the paid companion and her somewhat seedier sister, the sugar baby? I had a difficult time coming to my usual position, to let a girl do what she wants as long as she’s chosen to do it and isn’t hurting anyone. Heidy’s been to 20 countries in three years. A high percentage of sugar babies are leaving college debt free, a thought that makes this attorney whimper wistfully. And even we call this prostitution, as some sugar babies do, the feminist in me says that if a woman owns her body, she should be free to sell it.

Still, something about this makes me uncomfortable.

For the right woman, clearly, arrangements work.

But how does the wrong woman discover that’s she’s not cut out for the world of pay for play?

Follow Lady Smut. We’ll keep it casual.

Alexa Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and licensed attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

 

“Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?

15 Jun

by Madeline Iva

I do.  I do feel lucky.  I’ve got two new TV actor obsessions this summer.  AND WE’RE CELEBRATING Elizabeth Sa Fleur’s new book release LUCKY. (See more below.)

Todays post is about two weird punks, among other things. Thankfully people rarely toss around the term ‘punk’ anymore.  Some older man or jock would toss around the term as a way of picking on or at least intimidating one of those non-alpha males hanging out in the high school halls, usually minding his own business. My two latest TV actor obsessions would fit that outdated term. They’re lurkers. They’re the guys the jocks are dying to pick on.  Let’s herald the fact that TV has come such a long way that the ‘weird’ guys are now our heroes.

Isabelle Drake has already talked about her fascination with RIVERDALE.  I couldn’t agree more; it’s a more wholesome, more CW teen drama version of Twin Peaks.  The only thing that kept me from gagging on all the wholesome was –as Isabelle rightly points out — the scandals, secrets, and subversions.  Meanwhile, the show is narrated by one Jughead.

ALL HAIL JUGHEAD!

He’s the “weird one” on the show–the writer, and the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Sensitive and not into sports, cars, bands, or anything at all guy-like.  He just wants to hide in a corner and write about it all from a loner-safe distance. Just the kind of guy I would have fallen for in high school.

THE SHY WRITER GUY ROCKS MY WORLD

Betty draws him out of his corner to get on the school newspaper where she’s the editor and then he and Betty sleuth together. YES.

And he has a tortured relationship with his father who is (gasp!) Skeet Ulrich, still looking pretty damn good, I must say, and working that tempting bad boy vibe.  I totally crushed out on him in SCREAM and man, I don’t quite get why the girls in Riverdale aren’t crawling onto his face — that he doesn’t have a love interest is just wrong wrong wrong.

But I digress.

Another face slap moment while watching RIVERDALE is that Cole Sprouse who plays Jughead was, like, Ben – BEN!!! Ross’s son from Friends era.  So very very wrong.  Also it seems wrong that a child we’ve basically watched grow up on TV (don’t forget The Suite Life of Zach and Cody) is so cool and has got it together.  That said, for all the twin-cest stuff they play with on Riverdale it should be noted that Cole himself is an identical twin (the happy twin).

YAY JUGHEAD THE A-SEXUAL!

Okay – it’s so old, but I wonder if you heard about the controversy with Jughead’s sexuality? Well, the deal-i-o is this: Archie comics were already revamping their image and making themselves relevant for the modern age. Looking from today’s perspective at Jughead who remained free of all relationship entanglements and who loved to eat – we have here a classic a-sexual kind of character. Great! The comic ran with it –but they got into trouble when it came to the TV show on the CW.

Parents don’t want their kids having sex – but neither do they want their kid being asexual it seems. Cole Sprouse fought for it, but too bad, Jughead gets his romance on with one of the other Riverdale characters. I’m on the fence with this one. I liked the romance–a LOT–but I also like the idea of a (young and hot) asexual character. I want to have my cake and eat it too (a very asexual joke, btw.)

Anyway, I liked the character and I liked Cole all the more for him fighting for asexual Jughead. Without him there would have been no one relatable for me in the Riverdale reboot at all… not even creepy twincestuous Cheryl Blossom…

Many people were excited that all these actors from the 80’s and 90’s shows up as parents in the show, but I was rolling my eyes (except for SKEET!)

Damn, Skeet!

And Jughead is not really weird.  He’s what passes for the school’s intellectual.  He’s a teen who wants to avoid other teen’s penchants for drama and mess.  (Yes!) But eventually, Riverdale really focusses on Jughead’s own attempt–despite himself–to transcend his trailer park background and become one of the Riverdale scooby gang.  Forces pull him back, but Betty rallies everyone to pull him forward, and I just can’t tell you how happy I was to have his character — the writer, the outsider — become the heart of the show.

Final hot mention for Riverdale goes to Rob Roco who plays a hot GAY biker dude. (Swoon!)

HOW MANY HOT SWEDISH SKARSGARDS ARE THERE ANYWAY???

Anyway, moving on to the *real* “weird” dude in high school type –

He’s got to be the tallest guy on the show and, like, 27, but who CARES? Billy Skarsgard is the creepy high school rich boy Roman in Hemlock Grove.

Billy Skarsguard (brother of Alexander, son of Stellan) plays Roman in Hemlock Grove. The rich kid (and devil’s spawn????) –hey I don’t know, cause I just started watching the show—-in the town, Roman seems born to sin. He smokes, he drinks, gets high, and pops pills all the live long day and this is perfectly okay with his mother. (Because that’s what a devil’s spawn needs????)

Disturbed–in the *best* possible way!

But he’s got a good heart – in his own a way. In a very weird way. He’s interested in the neighbor teen boy who lives in a trailer. He’s interested in a cheerleader who was killed.  There’s a sense of pathos about him.  He takes his female cousin out for a good time. He’s definitely a good brother, and likes his sister’s freakish qualities.  He seems to indulge his we-think-she’s-evil mother with a fair amount of politeness.

He also boinks all the girls and THEN some. There is this one scene – ooh, it’s gonna squidge you out, but okay.  Roman is into blood. Like licking it. So when this girl in his class has a tampon sticking out of her purse and needs to go to the bathroom, he’s right behind her. Next scene – you can hear in the bathroom they’re having sex.

NO – WAIT – it gets gorier than that. Flash to the bathroom and you can tell behind the bathroom door that he’s going down on her like CRAZY. And she’s groaning and having an amazing time of it.

YES–it’s that kind of show.

My ultimate stance on this scene is….I love it. She’s having a VERY good time, he seemed to be too. That’s the definition of good sex in my book. Teens of America–take note.

(Side bar: Where are we going in our culture with period sex? It doesn’t seem to be really changing much—we regularly get these mentions dropped into the culture. It’s just the mentions seem to be getting bigger and more public. I remember finding this book by Erica Jong on the shelves while babysitting—not Fear of Flying, but maybe her second or third book? The character takes a younger lover, and she’s having the Red Sea of all periods but that doesn’t stop him. He just goes to town on her, triumphantly pulling the tampon out with his teeth and maybe even chewing on it, before getting back to bizness. (!!!) Of course, that’s the only scene I remember from the book at this point and I think it scarred me for life in some way I’m not sure of. Then there was Endless Love. Skip ten years. That thing in the pilot of Entourage where when Eric says to his friends that his he didn’t have sex with his girlfriend cause she said she was on her period. The guys are like, “She’s cheating on you.” And indeed she was. When is a period just a period anymore? IDK. There was that scene in 50 Shades when he visits her during her vacation home and she’s on her period. And finally, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend had that scene that hinted at a song called “Period Sex“.  The YouTube video Period Sex is even MORE out there.  I guess we’ll know it’s a real thing when it becomes a romance subgenre.)

WHO DOESN’T OBSESS OVER THE TORTURED HOT WEIRD GUY TEETERING ON THE EDGE?

Back to Roman: I have a feeling this is one of those roles that breaks our hearts. He’s a character teetering morally back and forth – like Jughead, only the stakes are far higher.  He could so easily go evil on us. But he’s not there yet. (I’m about maybe four episodes in.)  So of course you/I want him to not go over to that horrible side. But I think we can see from the gif below that he does. I’m just suspecting…it’s gonna be creeeeeeepy!

Okay, enough of the weird and grotesque today.  We’re especially happy that Elizabeth Sa Fleur’s latest LUCKY is out in time to take to the beach for that ultimate sweep-you-away summer read.  Here’s a blurb and some links.  Buy it! Buy it NOW!

LUCKY is Book #4 of the Elite Doms of Washington series

Entertainment investor and resolute bachelor Derek Damon Wright and dancer Samantha Rose are unprepared for their mutual attraction to one another, especially since she wants a baby and he wants … anything but.

Billionaire, entertainment investor and resolute bachelor Derek Damon Wright and dance studio owner Samantha Rose are unprepared for their mutual attraction to one another. Family doesn’t match Derek’s sophisticated life of private jets, vacations in the Caribbean and his BDSM activities. Yet a magnetic passion draws them closer—at least until their past mistakes arise and threaten all hope of a real future.

 

 

 

 

All of the Above: Can Romance Play the Field?

6 Jun

What’s wrong with this picture? Not a damned thing.

By Alexa Day

I’m reading a book right now in which the heroine enjoys the abundant sexual charms of three partners. My guess is that she’ll eventually choose one of them — the cover for the next book in the series features two guys instead of three. But right now, she’s making no move to settle down.

The book is Taking Turns by J.A. Huss, and the heroine has an agreement with the three men. There are a number of stipulations, but once I heard that their arrangement basically entailed their putting her up in a nice apartment to take turns sleeping with her, I knew this was a story I needed to have.

It is romance’s most binding promise: the heroine will win, every time.

We can be sure that at the end of the story, she will be in a good place in her relationship, whatever that might look like. Maybe she’s getting ready to settle down with one guy. Maybe she’s establishing a relationship with a couple of guys (or more) in a relationship unit. I don’t object to that. Not really.

But this week, a troubling question tugged at my imagination.

Is the heroine winning big enough?

Put another way, why choose? Whatever happened to D: all of the above?

The modern romance heroine is a smart, successful, attractive woman. In the 21st century, a woman like that could — and honestly, ought to — have her choice of men. Indeed, more than one man would certainly be interested in her. But the modern romance heroine has less reason to settle down than ever. She’s at the top of her game, and she probably knows it. Why should she ever limit herself?

Even if she ultimately decides to choose one partner, why shouldn’t she take full advantage of what men have to offer first?

Chella is LIVING THE DREAM. Click to get some of that good stuff for yourself.

It’s important to note that this is neither menage nor polyamory. Both menage and polyamory involve multiple partners, yes. But in both situations, the men are aware of each other and have consented to share. They’re in a unit. Choosing menage or polyamory is settling down.

I’m talking about playing the field, in all its springtime glory, for as long as men will permit it. I’ve written it before. The heroine of Illicit Impulse has a bestie with benefits and an object of her more chaste desire. And in “Three, After Midnight,” the heroine enjoys a night of bliss with the spirit of her deceased husband, who’s borrowing the body of a hottie she seduced for that purpose.

Where’s the fun in limiting a fabulous heroine to one man, right? Why not let her have as much as she wants for as long as she wants to have it and her partners are willing to supply it?

I think there’s a group of romance readers who want, need and long for a heroine who is desired by many men, and who is determined to enjoy her status for as long as possible. I think romance readers need to know that in our abundant world, their heroine is free to lick as many men as will permit it. Their heroine doesn’t live in a world of masculine scarcity, and neither do they.

Consider Scandal in its golden days. For a long while, Olivia Pope thoroughly enjoyed the attentions of the President of the United States and the enigmatic Jake Ballard. When they had the audacity to suggest she choose one of them, she laughed and said she chose herself instead. She went right on sleeping with the both of them for as long as they permitted it — until Jake decided he wasn’t getting what he needed from the arrangement and bowed out.

And I’m reminded of a formative experience.

Look at those eyes, pleading, “Pick me! Pick me!”

I saw Tequila Sunrise in the theater in 1988, when I was quite young and impressionable. In the film, restaurant owner Michelle Pfeiffer must choose between reformed drug dealer Mel Gibson and police lieutenant Kurt Russell. That might not be a tough call today, knowing what we know, but in 1988, that was not an easy decision to make at all. I’m proud to say that Michelle spent the entire movie trying to make up her mind, and when it was all over, I left wondering how I could become a restaurant owner.

If Tequila Sunrise has a moral, it was to tell this child of the 80s that she could, in fact, have it all.

There should probably be limitations. The requirement that each men know about the others is not just about informed consent; I think it actually keeps everyone at their sharpest and most competitive. And of course, everyone would be free to stop playing as soon as things stopped working for them. Even in “Three, After Midnight,” the wrestling coach who found himself possessed by an eager spirit exercised his option to back out.

But with that in mind, why shouldn’t a heroine explore as many men — and as many relationships — as she wants?

Is there room in romance for a heroine to find more than one happily ever after, with more than one man, in more than one relationship?

Is it time for D: all of the above?

Follow Lady Smut. We won’t make you pick a lane.

Alexa Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and licensed attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

 

Red As Blood: Women & Gothic Romance

1 Jun

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

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

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

Spoiler Alert!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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