Tag Archives: Erotic Romance

Free read: Office rivalry in erotic romance Sexual Integrity by J.A. Dennam

27 Jun

Today Lady Smut is thrilled to bring you a sexy snippet from the hot new office rivalry erotic romance Sexual Integrity by J.A. Dennam (Cleis Press). This steamy tale will make you grateful for your vacation time so you can follow along as Brooke and Ethan battle it out.

Sexual Integrity by J.A. Dennam

About Sexual Integrity:

A career woman to a fault, Brooke Monroe vows to earn back the graphic art business her father sold, robbing her of her birthright and costing an office-full of employees their jobs. The arrogant team of outsiders appears to have no sympathy, a fact that sets her blood boiling. As one of the only survivors of the takeover, Brooke finds herself face-to-face with the devilishly handsome Ethan Wolf as they vie for the position of Vice President of Monroe Graphics.

Ethan is ready for Brooke and her amusing attempt to emerge the victor: the woman’s stiff exterior and fiery green eyes both fascinate and infuriate him like no other. As the sparks of rivalry fly, so begins a reluctant attraction between the two VP candidates. When an accidental encounter in the darkroom reveals an undeniable chemistry between them, Brooke and Ethan’s fight turns dirty and detours to the bedroom. Once the clothes come off, their biggest challenge is keeping sex out of the workplace…and keeping their feelings at bay until after the competition. But when a corporate leak is discovered and Brooke is blamed as the obvious culprit, will Ethan trust her enough to believe her claims of innocence? Or will Brooke’s chance at love and her father’s company be forever out of reach?

About the author:

J. A. Dennam, award winning Amazon bestselling author, resides in a small Kansas town with her husband and four children. Besides her love for the literary arts, her interests include fine arts, culinary arts, singing and motorcycling. To date, Miss Dennam has seven full-length novels and a few novellas under her belt, with many more to come. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Excerpt from Sexual Integrity:

Sid slowly leaned forward. Brooke moved in to meet him halfway.

They shared a sensual kiss that was tentative at first and then deepened into something more. His breath smelled good, like rich Napa Valley wine. His lips were firm yet soft. The way he moved told her that he knew how to please a woman.

Despite all that, her heartbeat notably failed to pick up its pace.

The doorbell rang. Brooke wasn’t sure if it was an annoyance or a blessing. She backed out of the kiss, leaving him with an unfocused look that told her he’d enjoyed it way more than she had. “It could only be Mrs. Costa from next door,” she explained as she got to her feet and put her glasses back on. “She always comes over when her computer acts up. I’ll tell her to hold off for now.”

Sid appeared in no hurry to leave his spot on the floor. He drew a knee up, but not before Brooke saw the suspicious bulge in his Bermuda shorts.

When she opened the door, a shockwave of alarm washed through her. Ethan stood there leaning against the doorframe in jeans, a black T-shirt, and an intense focus on the welcome mat. All she could do was stare in abject surprise at a man who couldn’t possibly have sought out her address.

Words escaped her. The silence stretched as he too seemed to wonder what the hell he was doing there. Finally, he looked up. His eyes darted past her and over to the man at her coffee table. Slowly, their blue-gray depths changed into something turbulent.

Her hand slipped from the knob as he stepped over the threshold. He stood so close she could feel his body heat. His voice was rough, barely above a whisper. “We need to talk.”

Now her heart was beating fast enough to power a small locomotive. Dazed and confused, she stepped back and turned to find Sid standing right behind her. “Sid…do you mind if we do this another time?”

The man stepped closer, caressed her back in an intimate way. “Isn’t this the guy you were arguing with the other day?”

“And we’ve done a lot of that since then, haven’t we, Brooke?” Ethan chimed in, sounding dangerous. “Well…not all of it was—”

“Ethan, shut up,” Brooke snapped.

A quick look confirmed that Sid was following along just fine. As he nodded at his adversary, the pulse at his freckled temple began to thrum. “I get it.” He turned to Brooke. “Are you sure you want me to leave?”

She took one of his hands and gave it an apologetic squeeze. “Yes, I’m sure. Another time would be better, when I’m all here.”

Sid hesitated a moment and then pursed his lips as he began to leave. When Ethan moved aside to give him clear access to the doorway, Sid stopped, leaned over, and deposited a tender kiss on her temple.

“I’m only a phone call away,” he said, his voice laden with meaning.

She closed the door behind him, swimming in mixed emotions. Why the hell had she just done that? And why the hell was Ethan Wolf standing in her living room? Brooke cleared the uncertainty from her throat. “I don’t want our problems inside my home,” she said.

When she turned to confront him, he was taking a good long pull from the open bottle of cabernet. Her anger rose to a fever pitch as she realized he’d just swallowed about twenty bucks worth of wine in one shot, no doubt to make a point. She moved toward him and was about to tell him to leave when he set the bottle down on the coffee table, turned, and immediately drew her into his arms.

Suddenly she was fully involved in a scorching kiss that completely rendered her senseless. It was not tender or sweet, but rough and demanding. All of her irritation melted away along with her reasons for not wanting him here. She’d been geared up to welcome Sid’s touch. Surely that’s why her body was thrumming with a need so strong, she clung to Ethan as if he were the only thing keeping her upright.

“You drive me insane,” he hissed against her mouth, closing his eyes against the inner struggle she understood all too well.

Brooke dropped her head in a desperate attempt to find sanity. This wasn’t possible. How could he turn her insides into molten lava like that when the mere sight of him pissed her off so badly? When she backed away, he let go of her waist and did the same. A moment of silence followed. “You said you wanted to talk,” she said finally.

Ethan turned his back and jammed a hand through his hair. “Give me a second.”

“Why should I?”

“Look.” When he faced her again, aggravation laced his words. “I don’t want to be here either. In fact I’m still trying to figure out why I’m not in Fort Myers.”

“Because you’d rather harass me, apparently.”

“Because no matter how hard I try with you, I can’t get my bearings—which scares the hell out of me. We’ve been taking one step forward and two steps back since the start of this competition, and for what? Because we hate each other?”

“Yes!” she threw out in a desperate attempt to believe it.

His brow smoothed out with a look of wonder. “Really? Why, Brooke? What makes you want to skin me alive and me want to shake the living shit out of you?”

Sexuality Integrity is out now as an ebook and in print. Buy it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local bookstore, or download the ebook for Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks or Kobo.

Sexy Sunday Snippet: For the Love of a Soldier edited by Kristina Wright

25 Jun

Today’s Sexy Sunday Snippet is about a popular subject: sexy military romance! For the Love of a Soldier: Military Erotic Romance edited by Kristina Wright and published by Circlet Press, is out June 29 for Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Kobo.

About the book:

Sixteen stories of passion with soldiers, sailors, pilots, and men (and women) of war. When you love someone in the military, erotic opportunities can few or far between. These authors, veterans of the erotica and romance writing world, turn their pens to the subject with insightful and sizzling portrayals of those in (and out of…) uniform.

Edited by award-winning author Kristina Wright, who is married to a former Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy, For the Love of a Soldier is filled with sexy, romantic stories by some of the top authors in the erotic romance genre. Cat Johnson, Victoria Janssen, Lucy Felthouse, Sidney Bristol, and 12 other talented writers reflect on the lives, loves, and sacrifices of men and women in uniform and answer the provocative question: What would you do for the love of a soldier?

Excerpt from For the Love of a Soldier from short story “Penelope Pending” by Axa Lee:

It happened fast, too fast. It was less a whirlwind romance than an obvious. Of course, you moved in with me. Of course, we wanted a baby. Of course.

Neither one of us really noticed that we’d only known one another a couple of months. It felt like we’d been together far longer. Of course. You’re the type who’s willing to gamble and risk again and again. Just so happens that this time, you won.

And now you’re leaving, and the thought of it, of days and weeks piling up on one another without you in them, makes my throat tighten. It’s amazing how quickly you and the baby have become my whole world.

You come up behind me while I’m folding laundry and the baby is napping and grab a handful of my ass, squeezing just hard enough so it hurts, the way you know I like. Then you do that thing, pulling my hips back into yours, biting my neck, in that way that makes me absolutely cream for you.

“Only another seventeen years and two months,” I joke, “then I’ll be rid of you.” It’s been a joke between us that we’re only together for the sake of the baby, based off something someone said while I was pregnant.

“Oh really?” You lick the edge of my ear, biting the lobe. I suck in my breath. “How about I buy a week at a time, every time I make you come.”

“A day at a time,” I bargain, biting my lip as you press your hand over my mound, using a sudden but steady pressure.

My pussy will still be sore tomorrow when I throw my leg over a horse from how hard you fuck me this afternoon. But I don’t care. I want to freeze this moment, be able to rewind and play it again while you’re away.

You tease my lips and tongue with yours, until I’m bursting for you. Usually we make love, but this time we rip off our own clothes, desperate to press as much skin against skin as possible. It makes my head spin when you kiss me, all wrapped up, knotted up in my head, until there’s only room for your and pure sensation. Your touch is as purple as a thousand clichés, scorching, sizzling, burning, tingling, tender, savage, tortuous, yearning, transcendent.

You split me open with those smooth, gentle fingers, sliding into my wetness with a groan, as I suck you. Your cock in my mouth feels exquisite, full and hard. It’s got me dripping wet already. Sex has always been my drug of choice. You run your hand over the smooth curve of my ass. I love the sharp, sudden crack of your palm, how you grab my flesh, twisting, moaning.

“God, I love that ass,” you say. “But, baby, I really need to be inside you.”

Then I’m impaled on your cock, up to the hilt, dropping my head back, moaning, grinding against you, your hip bones jutting upwards, pressing against me. By the time your thumb finds my clit, I’m done. You fuck my pussy so well I speak in tongues, babbling, begging, so hot and tight for you that I swear you’re going to come in the first few minutes. I think you swear you’re going to come in those first few minutes. Holding off is something you pride yourself in. We’ll have sex a couple three times sometimes before you’ll let yourself come. You’re that into getting me to come. And come, and come… It’s not a line when I say I’ve never come like this, explosively, vibratingly hard.

“How many days does this buy me?”

“One…” I breathe.

You thrust into me, roll your hips. It’s so unfair that you know all the combinations that get me.

“Two…” My breath catches. “Three… oh… fuck!…”

My mouth swallows the vibration of your chuckle.

You turn me onto my side, legs stacked, change the sensation and angle with delicious insightfulness. I’ve barely recovered from the first few and already I feel another orgasm building. You’ve learned this, over time, the amazing variety of ways you can get me to come. And you exploit them ruthlessly.

You pound into me, fast and hard, almost stereotypical, fucking like a soldier looks like he should fuck, with your whole body, all dominance and power, with barely restrained strength rigid through your thick neck and shoulders. You fuck the way guys imitate fucking when they’re around one another, palms up, pulling the girl into them, making them feel all cocky and in control, flaunting the power of their being a trained killer.

But your eyes put a lie to the illusion. Your eyes are raw, exposed. And it’s as though we’re having the most connected sex on the planet right now, as you lean forward, hips still shallowly thrusting, and nip the side of my neck, breathing hard beside my ear.

“Mine,” you say, “you’re mine. And I’m yours.”

I feel safe in your arms, safe enough to be vulnerable, safe enough to admit my want for you in return. I don’t have to be tougher than you are. I don’t have to be ashamed that I like being your woman, like it’s a shameful thing for a woman to enjoy—even get off on a little—on having the protection of her man. Because, in return, you’re willing to do anything for me, anything to keep me safe, to help me be happy. I can set aside my mother’s feminism for that.

“All yours,” I agree.

I can’t see the look on your face, but I feel the breath go out of you and the complete yielding to this thing between us. There’s nothing sexier than a trained killer, who can end a life with his bare hands, being completely vulnerable and in love with you. And you embrace me as I erupt on your cock, coming so hard my legs kick and I clutch you like you’re the last solid thing in the world, as I descend into body rocking orgasms, that only get better when you come inside me, making me quake even harder as you stroke against my cervix and I feel you fill me, pressing the entire length of your long body against me, and we both quake, overwhelmed with the intensity of the raw emotion between us.

Love only cuts as deeply as one is willing to be cut. You and I are both gutted.

Sign up for a free copy of On Fire: Erotic Romance Stories

5 Jun

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Who’s excited for summer? Hopefully, all of us! I am looking forward to vacations by the beach, attending my first bachelorette party and, of course, beach reads, including my July Cleis Press anthology On Fire: Erotic Romance Stories.

If the title and/or steamy cover (isn’t it HOT?) sound intriguing, I’ve got a great deal for you: Through June 18, 2017, one month before the ebook release (the print version pubs on August 8), I’m offering a free e-copy to interested readers in exchange for an honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. To sign up, fill out this form with your name and email address by June 18th. Your contact information will only be seen by me, and only used to send you the review copy. I’ll send you a copy, then you can post your review any time on Goodreads, and starting July 18th on Amazon. I just ask that you include the phrase “I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review” with your review when you post it. It’s that easy!

Here’s the book’s blurb:

In On Fire, today’s top erotic romance authors don’t skimp on love or lust—they are entwined in tales that will make pulses pound and hearts race. Bestselling editor Rachel Kramer Bussel takes us inside the passions of couples who go above and beyond in their pursuit of sexual and romantic satisfaction, exploring the racy to the outrageous during their many arousing adventures. You’ll treasure the sex toy exploration in “Every Second of It,” find paranormal pleasure in “Masquerade,” and be transported to “A Place As Beautiful As This.” You’ll go “Beyond the Blindfold,” find out what lurks in the “Art of Darkness,” and delight in discovering “The Sweetest Thing.” These steamy stories by Kristina Wright, Delilah Devlin, Giselle Renarde, Kay Jaybee, Victoria Blisse, Jade A. Waters and others are perfect intimate reads to enjoy with your lover or for your own pleasure.

Want to know more On Fire? Visit the official Tumblr to read my introduction and the table of contents. And if you want to get a free copy for review, use this form by June 18, 2017 and check your inbox!

And stay tuned for our Lady Smut week celebrating all things On Fire and Fiery starting July 17th!

——————————————————————————————————-

Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) has edited over 60 anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 and 2, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, Begging for It, Fast Girls, The Big Book of Orgasms and more. She writes widely about sex, dating, books and pop culture and teaches erotica writing classes around the country and online. Follow her @raquelita on Twitter and find out more about her classes and consulting at eroticawriting101.com. You can follow Rachel on BookBub to get notified about new releases and ebook sales.

Romance, Intrigue, Bondage! Sexy Snippet from Lucky

4 Jun

by Elizabeth SaFleur

Today’s Sexy Excerpt comes from Lucky, an Elite Doms of Washington book. Expect intrigue, romance and BDSM elements in this series that shows not all power in D.C. is wielded by politicians.

Lucky is the fourth story in the series, but each book is a stand-alone with no cliff-hangers.

About the story

When a man tells you who he is believe him.

Wealthy entertainment investor and resolute bachelor Derek Damon Wright learned at a young age women were trouble. He’s unprepared for dancer Samantha Rose who walks into his thirteenth, Washington DC nightclub opening with an authenticity and passion for life that quickly rocks his jaded, albeit privileged, world.

Samantha, an aerial artist and dance studio owner, hasn’t been lucky in love, and falling for the charismatic and Dominant Derek won’t draw her closer to her greatest dream of  having a baby. Yet she’s helpless to resist his charm and sophisticated world of private jets, Caribbean islands and the sexual pleasures of dominance and submission.

As their whirlwind romance progresses, past mistakes rise up to threaten their future. Only when they rely on each other for safe haven do they find the answer to their dreams.

~~~ Excerpt ~~~

With deft fingers, he lowered her zipper. The faint zlip was the only sound to accompany the tick-tock of the clock on the sideboard credenza.

Straps fell over her shoulders followed by her dress falling to the ground. The scratch over her belly awoke something inside her. She turned so she could see his eyes, more gray when before they’d been blue-green.

Freed from the armor of her dress, everything about him seemed larger than she recalled. His height was greater, his shoulders broader. The pronounced angles in his face drew more elegant lines than she’d appreciated earlier. Even that gentlemanly vibe he threw off was grander.

On the drive home, she had tried to talk herself out of going any further with him.

She’d listed what little she knew about Derek Wright: kind but direct, confident but with unsettled eyes, normal yet breathed the rarefied air of a privileged world.

In the car, she came down to one reason to be here with him, right now, like this, with her dress puddled at her feet. She wanted to be.

His hands reached around her ribcage. His eyes never left her face as he unsnapped her bra with one hand.

“Wow.” She hadn’t meant to say it aloud. But his bra removal skill, and resulting smirk from her remark, said he probably could do many other things with those hands. She was going to find out. Her bra made a soft slap as it hit the ground.

When his gaze locked on the sight of her bare breasts, a deluge of feminine power solidified her earlier decision.

He would honestly appreciate her. Respect wasn’t anything she’d thought of before, not really. What a mistake, because now as she stood before a man who honored her thoughts and feelings, respect was all she could think of.

“Wow, indeed.” He reseated her on the table. He leaned his hands on either side of her legs and gazed down at her intently for one, endless minute.

“You like?” she asked.

He grasped her ass and yanked her to the edge so her crotch connected with his. “I like.”

So did she, because now she knew his size. Cindy would have been impressed.

His hands cradled her face. As his fingers massaged the back of her skull, his eyes roamed over every inch of her heated cheeks.

“Do you like surprises?” he asked. “Cameras notwithstanding.”

“Love them.”

“Good. This one time I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do. Next time, I won’t.”

There was going to be a next time? “Okay.”

“First, I’m going to kiss you so hard you’ll lose your ability to stand. You’ll be short of breath. Your world will become my mouth.”

Good start.

“Then I’m going to rip that thong off you. I’ll send something tomorrow to replace it. But only so I can rip it off again because I know one thing, Samantha Rose.”

“What?” she breathed.

“Once I’m inside you, I’m going to want to be there all the time. Deep inside.” On his last words, he ground his pelvis against her now soaked panties.

Yes, please.

His mouth came down on hers. He did rude things with his lips and tongue. True to his word, she was breathless by the time he stopped.

His fingers wound their way through her hair and pulled her head back gently but with intention. The fingers of his other hand slipped into her thong and he yanked–hard. A thrill ran through her whole body at a telltale ripping sound—until the tear stopped. Stupid lycra material. She wanted the fabric to be shredded so he could ravage her like he’d promised.

He chuckled slightly. “Best laid plans . . .”

She choked back a return laugh when he whisked her panties down her legs in a nanosecond. Being stripped of her dress and exposed to him fully, touched a vulnerable place inside her, as if her earlier courage lay in a heap at her feet along with her dress.

“Hey, no fair. I’m naked and you’re not.”

He fisted her hair a little tighter. “We’ll get there.”

“When?” The lights were bright in the kitchen.

“You would be fun to tie up.”

Her mind’s eye wrapped her in a series of rope patterns. She could almost feel the itch. She licked her lips. “Okay.”

His eyes narrowed a bit. “Into bondage, are we?”

“Maybe.” She’d be into anything this man was into because her insides were ready to explode.

“Too bad we don’t have some of that parachute silk here. I could wrap them around these . . .” He regarded one leg. “. . . incredibly luscious legs and keep them still. Though I’d rather like seeing you come undone.” The vision of all the positions he could put them into tumbled into her mind. Yes, please.

He brought his lips and hot breath close to her ear. “And once I have you bound and helpless, how should I take you? Missionary? From behind? Against the wall?” He pulled back to face her. “Or all ways?”

She inched her legs further apart, and nodded.

~~~~~

Derek dropped his hold on her hair and stepped backward. This woman was too good to be true.

Was she fishing for his sexual proclivities? Nothing about her spoke of seeking gossip or blackmail material, and she appeared quite sensitive to that possibility for herself. He dismissed his suspicions.

Was he being careless? Probably. He didn’t care. His cock overruled any over-thinking on that front. He had to be inside this woman. Now.

He supposed he should have stopped to further assess her scene play experience, but where would she have encountered kink? In some kid’s shared apartment with play toy handcuffs and a tickler?

That conversation would come later—and there would be a later. He was certain of that fact given the saucy curiosity he read on her face.

Her inexperience demanding to be overturned intrigued him. She’d called him a gentleman. He was. When shown a door, he’d been taught to open it.

For him, she was a place he hadn’t yet visited or a fantastic book he hadn’t yet read. So much to discover, and not only because she was uncharted territory for him. He got to be new to her.

He unbuckled his belt. After zipping it through the loops, he doubled it in his hand and waited. He assessed her breathing, where her eyes landed, what she did with her hands—all signs of whether she was turned on or scared.

The hungry look in her eyes and her pink tongue reaching out to touch her lip strengthened his resolve to keep going. He wasn’t yet sure if she fueled his dominance on purpose or by accident.

He laid the belt next to her. She didn’t flinch when the leather touched her thigh.

After peeling off his jacket and casually draping it over one of the chairs, he rolled up his shirtsleeves. He stopped her hands from reaching out to touch him.

“No helping, ballerina. Hands back by your sides. Palms on the table.” He purposefully increased the volume of his voice for effect. Her delicious pout made his mouth water. Such beautiful lips.

“You’re going to help me in other ways. In fact . . .” He lowered his zipper. “. . . in many, other ways.”

~~~~~

Lucky is now available for pre-order (discounted). Release date: June 15, 2017!

~~~~~

Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get graphic about it  — “it” being the sex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington. Join her Sexy, Saucy, Sometimes Naughty exclusive reader’s group or follow her on Bookbub and Amazon.

 

Are You Feeling Lucky?

22 May

The Latest in D.C. Discipline Has Arrived

~~~ COVER REVEAL ~~~ PRE-ORDER ~~~

Discounted price of $2.99 until release date of

June 15, 2017!

I Want A Hot, Devoted, Skilled Soldier Lover and It’s All Susan Stoker’s Fault

28 Apr

by Elizabeth SaFleur

A new Susan Stoker book release generally sends her fans into hyper-ventilating excitement. So, everyone have your paper bags ready. Her fifth Delta Force Heroes book, Rescuing Kassie (Delta Force Heroes), arrives May 15 and is now on pre-order. Let the one-clicking commence.

Romantic suspense is a popular genre in Romancelandia, and Susan’s books have kept fan swooning over SEALs, Delta Force operatives, soldiers, cops and cowboys for the last few years. A prolific writer (i.e. almost the definition of prolific), Susan has several series available in e-book, paperback and audio, not to mention titles landing on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller lists–more than once.

Susan stopped by LadySmut today to share her thoughts on the enduring love of men in uniform and what’s next for her hot heroes and strong heroines, and gave us a peek into her latest, Rescuing Kassie, with a new excerpt (bottom of this post).

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Interview with Susan Stoker 

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: The romantic suspense genre seems to be growing, especially where military are involved. Do you think this is indicative of our world today, meaning it tracks with our fast, action-packed times?

SUSAN STOKER: I’m honestly not sure why it’s growing…I mean, I know why I write it and why I like to read it…men in uniform. 🙂 I simply think they make great Heroes because they’re ALREADY heroes. Who better to “save” someone, than a man in the military? But honestly, romantic suspense hits that “damsel in distress” trope that I think a lot of women enjoy. Just because we’re strong women in our everyday lives doesn’t mean we don’t think about being able to put our problems in someone else’s hands.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Amen. I mean, SEALS! SEALS! SEALS! Oh, sorry, I got a little excited there. In your Seals of Protection series, a lot of saving goes on. What is it about the SEAL hero? Why do women swoon? Is it really because they can get you out of any jam? All that alpha energy? Or the fact they are so selfless in their service? Or something else?

SUSAN STOKER: I think it’s the fantasy of the man in uniform saving someone. Mr. Stoker was in the Army for twenty-one years and we were married for seven of those, and I’ve certainly seen a lot of men (and women) who wouldn’t be able to find their way out of a paper bag nonetheless try to rescue someone else. LOL

I’m a huge fan of the damsel-in-distress trope, and who better to rescue you than a hot man in uniform? SEALs are appealing because they’re a little mysterious, andthey have to be super in shape because of what they do and to even become a SEAL in the first place. So to have them swoop down and carry off the heroine is just such a heart-swooning image.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Moving on to Delta force in your Delta Force Heroes series….I hear the Delta Force are the most secretive of the special ops world. I’m dying to know how you do your research! But, in the meantime, how do you differentiate your different special ops guys? SEALS from Delta? And is it important to do so?

SUSAN STOKER: I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

HA! Just kidding. You’re right, there’s not a lot of information about them, and that makes them even more mysterious and fun to imagine them swooping in to save the heroine.

My books aren’t really “military heavy.” And by that I mean a lot of time the drama that happens isn’t related to the military at all. The heroes just happen to be Delta Force (or a SEAL). But to answer your question, I differentiate them because of where they live and how they talk (using Army lingo). I believe that I don’t need to be super specific with guns, missions, uniforms, ranks, etc. It’s not necessary for the story. I let my reader use her/his imagination to fill in the blanks.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: In your Ace Security series, you have a band of brothers who launch an agency to help people free themselves from abuse. How did this series come about?

SUSAN STOKER: When I wrote Justice for Boone, the Hero was abused by his ex-girlfriend. There aren’t a lot of books out there where the male is the one being abused. But it happens. Just as I like to write about “real” issues out in the world, men being abused is one such issue. It’s just not talked about as much as women being abused.

As far as ideas, I watch a lot of crime shows. I’m totally addicted. Disappeared, Forensic Files, CSI, Criminal Minds, etc. are all great places to get a nugget, and then my imagination makes up the rest.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: In your Badge of Honor series, you turned to cowboys and law enforcement. What called you to write those kind of heroes? How are they different from your SEALs, Ace and Delta Force guys?

SUSAN STOKER:  Man in uniform…need I say more? 🙂 Seriously, again, it’s the saving the heroine thing. Who better to rush into a burning building and carry the heroine out than a fireman? Who better to save the heroine from a gun wielding lunatic, than a police officer? And honestly, they AREN’T a lot different. I always tell people, I could put my team of SEALs or Deltas in the BOH series and it wouldn’t be a lot different.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: You do the strong, selfless women with tragic backstories and the alpha males who find them really well. The women also seem quite supportive of one another. Do you take anything from your real world experiences and import them into your stories? And, what is it about this theme that attracts you as a writer?

SUSAN STOKER: I think close relationships with other women is something a lot of people are missing in their lives and it’s wonderful to read about close friendship circles like this. I know I would love to have a closer circle myself. I’ve moved a lot in my life and it seems as if those close friends have always been out of reach for me. So it’s a bit of “wishful thinking” on my part. 

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Your characters also deal with some dark stuff like abusive pasts, murder, trauma. Would you consider your books on the darker side or most realistic because that stuff happens in real life all the time?

SUSAN STOKER: I am very “mean” to my heroines. And I’m honest about that. A lot of it is fiction, but I also do that to show exactly how strong my heroines are. I mean, they take a beating (sometimes literally) and keep on going. I don’t really consider them “dark” because I don’t go into a ton of details with some of the situations, but again, women are living these kinds of life all over the world. So even though I write fiction, for many readers, it’s not.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Alabama, Mozart, Summer, Rayne. You have a lot of interesting character names! How do you go about naming your characters?

SUSAN STOKER: I definitely use websites for baby names, but I also stalk social media, too. The name Jessyka is actually one of my readers. As is Adeline. Sometimes I see a name and just love it so much I want to use it in my books. Other times the names just come to me. But if you are a friend of mine on social media, don’t be surprised if I steal your first or last name sometime. It’s the best place to “research.” Ha!

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: What is next for you, writing-wise? What can we expect in the future?

SUSAN STOKER: I’ve got a busy year planned, with a book coming out every month from May to December. Some are novellas, but most are full-length novels. You can expect more of the same in 2018. I like what I write, and I don’t have any plans to veer off in a different direction.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: What is your secret sauce for writing so many books so quickly? Asking for a friend….Seriously, you are so prolific. What is your writing process, and how long does it take you to go from idea to completion?

SUSAN STOKER: I can type really fast. 🙂  Okay, that’s not totally it, but I’m type A. Once I start a book, I get obsessed until I finish it. That means writing up to 7 to 10K words a day until it’s done. When I’m really into the story and it’s flowing well, I can manage to finish a full length book in two weeks. Then once I’m done, I don’t write anything for a couple of weeks…to let my brain re-fresh. Then I start again. I’m a pantser. I start out a book knowing how the characters meet and what the drama at 85% is going to be. Then I just start writing. My imagination takes over.

I also write “ahead.” Deadlines would never work for me. I have friends who can write a book right up to a deadline, but that’s not me. I’ve finished all the books coming out in 2017 (first drafts) and I’ll be starting on 2018 books soon.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: What is one questions readers ask you all the time? And what do you wish they ask?

SUSAN STOKER: What my favorite book/character is. I honestly don’t have one. I love all the stories and characters. I wouldn’t have been able to write the books if I didn’t.

I’m pretty open with my readers. They ask me stuff all the time and I can’t think of anything I didn’t want to answer. In fact, I probably give them TOO much info about upcoming books and plots sometimes. Ha.

But, how about, ”do you like what you do?”

Absolutely. I used to be a University Registar and not a day goes by when I miss it. There might be days where I struggle with writing, or marketing, or dealing with people, but when push comes to shove…I feel incredibly lucky to be able to make a living using my imagination and writing stories. I just want to say THANK YOU to every single person who has ever bought one of my books. It means the world.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Thanks for being here, Susan!

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The LadySmut Fast Lane

We ask, Susan Stoker tells….

  • Beach or Mountains? Mountains
  • Coffee, Tea or a favorite alcoholic drink? (you can name it) Midori Sour
  • Seal, Delta, Cowboy or Cop? (menage is a completely valid answer) Um…ALL of the above!
  • Driving the motorcycle or riding on the back? Riding on the back
  • Favorite season? Spring
  • Dream vacation? Maui, Hawaii

Susan’s Love Links:  Web site  Facebook  Twitter   

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Excerpt from Rescuing Kassie

After she nodded at each of the men, Truck said, “You ladies want some punch? I’m going to get a round.”

Kassie looked over to where the large man had indicated and flinched. She’d been looking for the grog bowl, and wasn’t sure how she’d missed it. On a long table against the opposite wall were two large punch bowls.

“I don’t want any grog,” Kassie blurted.

“Pardon?”

“Grog? Did she say grog?”

“What?”

The murmured questions came from Hollywood’s friends, but Kassie only had eyes for Hollywood. “I don’t know what I did wrong, but please don’t make me drink it.” She knew she was panicking, but couldn’t help it. The grog bowl was one thing she’d researched that was true about Richard’s farce of a military function.

“Kass—” Hollywood began, but she cut him off.

“I promise I’ll be good. I won’t embarrass you. Just don’t make me drink it. I’ll gag. I know I will. I just—”

“Kassie,” Hollywood said sternly, putting his hands on either side of her neck and forcing her to look up at him. “There isn’t a grog bowl here. It’s punch. Just punch.”

Her brows furrowed, Kassie looked up at him in confusion. She gripped his wrists as if her life depended on it. She saw nothing but concerned eyes looking down at her. Didn’t hear his friends whispering to each other. “Punch?”

“Yeah, Kass. Plain ol’ watered-down Hi-C, most likely. Fruit punch. Not grog.”

She swallowed hard. “Are you sure? There’s always grog. I Googled it.”

Hollywood turned his head, but didn’t take his eyes from hers. “Blade. Can you tell Kassie the grog bowl tradition?”

“Sure. They’re commonplace at dining-ins. It’s a tradition dating back to the Knights of the Round Table. Because of the weight of armor back in the day, it was hard to move and get a drink. So it was used as a punishment for someone who was out of order or unruly. The same thing applies today. There’s usually an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version and people who are found to be in violation of any kind of rule have to drink from the grog bowl.”

“And what’s a dining-in?” Hollywood asked, still holding Kassie’s eyes.

“It’s a formal military ceremony for members of a unit to foster camaraderie,” Blade said immediately.

“And are spouses, girlfriends, or significant others invited?”

“No,” Blade said succinctly.

Hollywood’s eyes narrowed, and he asked Kassie in a low voice, “When did you partake of a grog bowl, sweetheart?”

“I…uh…” Suddenly Kassie was more than aware of all the men and women around her, staring. She swallowed hard, embarrassed, but the terror hadn’t left her.

“Did your ex take you to an event with a grog bowl? You saw people drinking from it?” Hollywood pushed.

“He had an event at his place one night that included it,” Kassie told him, then bit her lip. “I told you about that. His friends dressed up in their fancy uniforms and came over. I usually messed up the most and had to drink from it all night. They thought it was funny to make me.”

Hollywood’s eyes closed momentarily and Kassie swore she heard one of his friends say “motherfucker” under their breath, but before she could say anything, Hollywood’s eyes opened and he said earnestly, “I’m sorry you had to do that, Kassie. As Blade said, the grog bowl is reserved for special soldiers-only functions. I can’t deny it’s gross, we’ve all had our share, but it’s supposed to be all in good fun. And I swear to you, all that’s in the punch bowl tonight is punch. Nothing gross. Okay?”

Kassie nodded. Embarrassed now. She’d made a fool out of herself. She should’ve known Richard hadn’t been following proper military protocol. The grog bowl was a real thing, but only for closed ceremonies…not for friends or family members.

“I don’t think I like this ex of yours,” Hollywood said, straightening, and reaching down for her hand once more.

“That makes two of us,” Kassie said with a nervous chuckle.

“Now that we have that out of the way…anyone want a cup of watered-down, barely drinkable fruit punch?” Truck asked dryly.

“Oh, with that description, how can we say no?” Emily asked with a laugh.

“Four cups, coming right up,” Truck said, lifting his chin at Kassie in what she thought was supposed to be a reassuring gesture, but in fact was just confusing.

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Pre-Order Rescuing Kassie (Delta Force Heroes)

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Coming to the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta this May? Join the Ladysmut.com bloggers for a very special reader event – Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever — and win crowns, toys, books and more. (Ooo, and we’ll have brownies….) Goodybags (with fun stuff!) to first 100 people in line! Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. Add this event to your RT Personal Agenda here.

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Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get graphic about it  — “it” being the sex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington. Join her Sexy, Saucy, Sometimes Naughty exclusive reader’s group or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Erotic romance excerpt from The Discipline by Jade A. Waters

19 Mar

by Jade A. Waters

Today’s excerpt is from BDSM erotic romance The Discipline by Jade A. Waters, the second in her Lessons in Control series from Carina Press, following The Assignment. Also be sure to check out our Lady Smut Q&A with Jade.

Here’s the official blurb for The Discipline:

How far would you go to fulfill a fantasy?

Maya Clery has taken risks before. Her relationship with Dean Sova started out as a risk—a series of sexual assignments, each hotter, wilder, more intense than the last. Exploring her submissive side with a powerful, trustworthy Dominant has been everything she hoped for, everything she needed.  

Dean pushes Maya to her limits—it’s one of the things she loves most about him. But as they push the boundaries outside their sex life, meeting friends and family members, Maya realizes there’s still much she doesn’t know about the man with whom she’s sharing her bed.

And when a fantasy simmering between them becomes their latest challenge, past secrets begin to reveal weaknesses in their relationship that neither is ready to face.

Excerpt from The Discipline by Jade A. Waters:

A chill blared through me having left the bathwater. It was almost as sharp as the curiosity tripping from my head to my toes. I stepped out and padded across the carpet to the bed, where I spun to face Dean. I made a show of leisurely slipping the towel off my body and tossing it to the floor, but he stayed unfazed and motionless in the water.

Fine, tough guy.

But who was I kidding?

I loved this.

Eager for the game to commence, I lay back on the bed, my toes barely touching the floor and an uncanny ripple of excitement shooting through my limbs. At Dean’s rise from the tub, I saw how hard he’d grown. The bulbous head of his cock stuck out from his pelvis, those beautiful dark veins running from root to tip. He dried off, the view forming a heavy cloud in my lungs, and I lifted my hands to my stomach to spread them over my goose bumped flesh.

How the hell had the mere act of walking over here and seeing him watch me get me this aroused?

Dean discarded his towel. He bent to dig his fingers into the pile of my robe on the floor, and I tried to make out what he was doing. It wasn’t until he stood upright and held the tie in his hand that I clenched my knees together. He curled the fabric around both his palms and walked in my direction at an excruciating pace, then stood against my knees, naked and hard before me. He smelled of the lavender salt we’d sprinkled in the tub, and him. Sexy, masculine him.

“Give me your hands,” he said.

I stretched them out. Dean wound the fabric around my wrists, close to my skin but not too tight. My groin flexed at the scent of his body and the swell of his cock not quite reaching my needy flesh. 

After he tied a loose knot, he gave my wrists a shove to indicate I should lay them above my head. “Spread your legs.”

I did. Dean stared down at my sex, his eyes glazed. His mouth formed that O I adored, and I couldn’t believe how much I was shaking, how fucking riled I’d gotten before he started stroking my slit. I could hear how wet I was in the gentle slicks of his finger. “Oh, fuck.”

“You’re so excited. Wetter than I imagined. I love how our conversation has done this to you.” 

I closed my eyes at the slide of his fingers inside my entrance, pulsing in and out to tease the rim of my pussy. Once I rocked my hips up for more, Dean withdrew his touch, resting one hand above each of my knees.

My eyelids popped open and I pouted, tortured by his naked body between my legs and his faint touch across my thighs.

“Are you ready to hear your test?” That devil of a grin played on his face when he pitched forward to lick one of my nipples, and every fiber of my being screamed for satisfaction.

“Yes. Please.”

“If we’re going to live that fantasy,” Dean said, inching one finger along the inside of my thigh in a dare, “then we’ll need it to be perfect. Safe. I need you to tell me what you want from it. How you want it to happen. What you want to happen.” His finger returned to my cunt, but his stroke was there and gone before he held back. “And if you tell me well, I’ll touch you more.”

Oh, yes.

I tongued my lip. “Why are you such a tease?”

Dean slipped his finger inside enough to make me whimper, then he took it away. “Because you crave it.” He sucked his finger into his mouth, and I groaned before he dropped it back to my thigh with a smack. I gasped and jerked on the bed. “Start talking, sexy.”

“Okay,” I said. He didn’t move, the outside of his thighs against the inside of mine, his cock fucking hard and tempting. I was going to lose my mind. “We start in a room after we’ve made sure all are on board.” To this, Dean curved both hands around my thighs and held them in place. My pulse hammered as I tried to envision how it might go. I rolled my head against my arm, keeping my wrists high above my head. “But we’ll be at a hotel, because it has to be neutral ground.”

Dean slid his hands higher and stopped. “What are you wearing?”

“Something sexy. Dressy. We both are.”

Dean shifted higher. “I know you like dressing up. Feeling sexy, though you always are.” He shifted higher still, his fingers almost reaching the creases between my sex and my thighs. “But get to the good parts.”

I giggled. “Fine. You’ll overwhelm me. He’ll overwhelm me.”

“That’s all you have to say?” He took another swat of my thigh. “No, no. Be explicit.”

I shivered as his thumbs resumed their sway across my skin. “You’ll strip me down for him. I’m yours, but you’re letting him in…” The grip of Dean’s hands crept up. “I’m not sure of everything that will happen.” Dean shook his head, dissatisfied and smacking the inside of my other thigh. My eyelids fluttered and I spoke swiftly. “There will be kissing. Touching.”

“And? What do you really desire with us? You’ll have two men. What is it about the idea that truly revs you up? How do you want us to overpower you?” He ticked his fingers back and forth, his use of my word making me blush. When Dean crouched to the floor and breathed hot air over my sex, I jumped. “What’s in that head of yours that’s got you glistening right now? Because you are…” He shoved my legs farther apart and leaned closer until I gasped.

Opening my mouth, I tasted the words, and when I spoke, I nearly purred. “I want to kiss him while you watch. But while you touch me.” Speaking it amplified the crash of my pulse and shot a bolt of arousal out to my toes. The image alone had me wet, but saying it to the promise of Dean’s fingers? Yes.

“There we go,” he said, strumming me with his fingers, parting my pussy lips with his thumbs. I moaned, and he tongued my hole for one enticing moment. “You taste delicious. Keep talking, naughty girl.”  

The Discipline is available for purchase for KindleNookGoogle PlayiBooks and Kobo.

BDSM Newbies and Erotic Romance: Q&A with The Discipline author Jade A. Waters

17 Mar

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Author Jade A. Waters has made a name for herself with her sexy approach to erotica writing. I have published her work in several of my anthologies and have always been impressed with the way it draws the reader in, whether she’s writing about a flogger (in The Big Book of Orgasms) or Shakespeare and theater and love (in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1).

After publishing numerous short stories, the San Francisco Bay Area-based author landed a three-book deal with Carina Press for her Lessons in Control trilogy, which follows Maya and Dean, both relative newcomers to the world of BDSM, on an exciting erotic journey. The series started with The Assignment, which featured the pair starting to date, with Dean giving Maya a series of increasingly risqué assignments, involving everything from public sex to bondage to sex clubs. Now, it continues with newly published The Discipline, as they take their sexual fantasies to a new level,  and the third book in the series, The Reward, will be published on June 12.

What especially drew me to her series is that while many kinky erotic novels are set in the world of dungeons with confirmed Masters and submissives, everyone fully aware of their BDSM identities from the start, both Maya and Dean are navigating those exciting but often confusing paths together. She has to figure out how much she can share with him about her past, which includes an abusive ex, and he has to figure out how far he can go with his kinky fantasies, especially as they ease into becoming reality. In Maya, Waters has created a heroine who is starting to tiptoe out from the shadow of her troubling history and into a future where she can crave roughness and tenderness from the same person. In our interview, I asked her about her writing career, choosing ebooks over print, BDSM and consent and what we can expect from this exciting literary love affair.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: How and why did you get started writing erotica and erotic romance?

Well, I’ve been writing fiction and poetry since I was a young girl, but I was also on the precocious side growing up…which eventually translated into a thing for provocatively reading synonyms from a thesaurus to my high school sweetheart over the phone. (For some reason, me reading the word “smoldering” often resulted in his squeaky voiced “Can you come over, maybe?”) Around the same time I discovered Anaïs Nin and The Best American Erotica 1993, and I realized I wanted to give sexy fiction a try. My first attempt was a story about a Russian princess trapped in a tower; her king father was attempting to marry her off to a bunch of disappointing courters, and she was supposed to be saved by a seductive stranger…but I never did finish that story. After that, I penned the occasional ditty every few years. The truth is that I fought the idea of writing erotica for a long time for too many reasons, but once I finally decided to up and go for it, it was on. I wrote two stories that I tried to submit to a small call (one of which ended up appearing later in Coming Together: Among the Stars), and then when I decided I was really serious in early 2013, I submitted “The Flogger” to you. That ended up being my first publication in The Big Book of Orgasms later that year!

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: When did you first get the idea for the romance between Maya and Dean, and was there a specific inspiration for it? Did you always plan for it to be three books?

JADE A. WATERS: Maya and Dean’s story was one part my own experience, and about three parts “what if?” The initial idea was sparked because I had a short-lived relationship with a man who playfully gave me an assignment on date one. I thought it was fun (my turn-ons are “playing” and “trying things”), but it wasn’t my thing in the long run, nor would we have ever worked out in a serious way. Pair with that my own history of having been in an abusive relationship in college, and the “what if” arose as I toyed with the idea of how the assignments and power dynamic would play out long term for someone who liked the submission, but who had only experienced it in a negative context. Maya’s independence is a mix of sass and survival—safety and control are imperative to her daily life, so I wanted to explore how that would work if she desired something considerably contrary. When I started book 1 I had some faint ideas of what could happen as they explored and their relationship continued to develop—so I imagined it could be a series, but I didn’t have much beyond an overall arc when I wrote The Assignment.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: There are some very vivid descriptions of things like sex clubs and rope bondage. Did you do any research for the books?

JADE A. WATERS: I do like to do my research. 🙂 It was a mix of memories of a few trips to sex clubs in the past, knowledge from a friend who studied shibari, and a lot of scouring the internet for alternate ideas. Also, reading is key. You pick up a lot from other stories and supplement with research as needed.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Can you tell me about your writing process? For the trilogy, did you write at a set time every day? Did you outline?

JADE A. WATERS: My “process” has morphed like crazy throughout this series. Book 1 was a breeze; it just popped right out. Book 2 had a lot of life and health issues throwing everything off, and required significant time and rewrites. Book 3 happened pretty quickly but needed a solid tweak between the manuscript turned in and what readers will see. The one thing that definitely held true throughout was that I’m a morning writer. It’s my most creative, calm time. I get up at 4 most days to get an hour or so of work in before I go to my day job. Weekends, I’ll start at 6 or so and go until the lunch hour.

I’m pretty simple when it comes to the how—it’s just me and a Word doc—but I like my coconut milk lattes and water in hand and to just go at it. Editing I seem to be able to do later into the day, which is helpful—but any big overhauls need morning light. As for outlining, that’s a big yes for novels. I use a combination of the Hero’s Journey, a 9-step outline process I picked up at a conference a while back, and then a method posted by Glen C. Strathy that I love. I merge these three styles together in a giant document that I print and keep on hand complete with character sketches and floor plans of characters’ houses as I work.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: How did you decide on e-publisher Carina Press, an imprint of Harlequin, as the publisher for your series?

JADE A. WATERS: My agent, Jessica Alvarez, and I shopped The Assignment around for a few months. Some publishers weren’t sure on a series. When the offer came in, we had two—one was for print for a single book, and the other was for the whole series with Carina. While I loved the idea of print, I’ve been fortunate to have been in print in several anthologies and I knew there was time for a print novel later. Carina was enthusiastic about the whole series, which excited me! So, after talking it around with Jessica, it was an easy yes.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Both Maya and Dean are intrigued by BDSM, but are both new at exploring it. Why did you decide to have them both be inexperienced? What was it like to write about a dom who has to act in control but is also, at times, unsure of what he’s doing when it comes to their power dynamics?

JADE A. WATERS: Ultimately, everyone has to be new at BDSM before they’re into BDSM. The desires can be part instinct, but we don’t just wake up one day knowing we like to be spanked or whatever without giving it a whirl. There are a bounty of books out there right now with a super experienced dom and inexperienced (and oft virginal) sub, and it drives me nuts. I wanted to explore two people who had a little exposure and interest in trying more, so that they could develop and cater to their own needs, but together. I find that exploration concept really sexy, which is why it was such an integral part of Maya and Dean’s relationship. However, it definitely posed some challenges in portraying Dean. He had to be in control, and yet he had to make rookie mistakes (he does in The Assignment, after all). It’s maddening to read and watch, but life is all about learning, and that’s what they do. Maya and Dean’s flubs allow them to figure out how to communicate and negotiate their boundaries—something I don’t think ever stops, in reality, in BDSM or any relationship. So they continue navigating that throughout the series.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Maya is intrigued by BDSM and submitting to Dean, but very wary based on abuse in a past relationship that had included some elements of BDSM, and she is also works with abused women at her job, which complicates her perspective. Was it challenging to incorporate the subject of domestic violence into a book of kinky erotic romance?

JADE A. WATERS: In some ways, yes, but not completely. I remember that when I told a non-erotica writer pal about Maya’s background early on, as well as some of what happens in the book, she’d said, “Wait, you’re basically giving her PTSD and having her trigger in an erotic romance book?” I’d found the question rather curious. I think we as a society have a tendency to gloss over the fact that real people have real histories and that can impact one’s choices and experiences. Maya is a fictional character, sure, but I like my characters to be real people. As someone who actually lives with PTSD—which does flare for most PTSD sufferers randomly throughout life—and yet someone who is also extremely sexual, I didn’t find the combination all that strange; I know what that feels like. It doesn’t saturate every moment but there are periods when it’s active. In the same way, making sure that past experience didn’t oversaturate the relationship was a challenge I enjoyed. To me, Maya’s story is about finally coming to terms with her past throughout the course of the series while she finds not only love and lust but herself in her relationship with Dean.

 One of the biggest themes of The Assignment is safety, which is what allows Maya to indulge the side of her that wants to have sexual adventures ranging from bondage to public sex to visiting a sex club. What about Dean makes her feel safe, and what, if anything, about Dean makes her feel unsafe?

JADE A. WATERS: Dean is naturally dominant, but he’s also a playful, compassionate guy. Maya is playful too, which is why they respond so well to one another. His openness allows her to feel safe, as does all his checking in—he may be giving assignments, but they really cater their dynamic together, and flesh it out through the series. We learn more about Dean in The Discipline, and some of his experiences have given him his own reticence that he [foolishly] tries to cover up. But as their relationship grows, it’s got to come out. I’m really into the pieces unfolding in time with people much like peeling back an onion, and yet, that lends to the challenges these two face. Maya’s questioning of safety comes from her background, pure and simple. It’s hard for her to place her trust entirely in someone else’s hands, but she wants to with Dean. Later, when she’s found her confidence in submission, she’s able to use that to call Dean out when he’s holding back. I wouldn’t say she feels unsafe then; in fact she feels safe enough to make the call and draw him out to meet her, too.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: If Maya had not met Dean, do you think she would have found other ways to explore her interest in BDSM?

JADE A. WATERS: Maybe? Frankly, I think she was too busy avoiding. If—and I mean if—she did find it later, I think it would have taken her a long time, because she was mighty happy with her fancy free love and sex life. There’s something about Dean that pushes that button for her in the perfect combo of dominant, charming, and sweet.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: The San Francisco Bay Area, the setting for the series and your home, is very prominent in the series. What’s so sexy about the area? Do you think people are more open to exploring BDSM there than in other parts of the United States?

JADE A. WATERS: I didn’t realize how into the area I was until I started writing erotica, honestly. Someone pointed out that I had a water motif and I had to pause before I realized, um, hello, I’ve been writing watery motifs for a while. I lived in Nevada until I was a teen, and from there I was in Sonoma, Marin, all over the East Bay…this place is just so incredibly lovely. (A 12-year-old me protested becoming a California girl and I now proudly tote that badge.) There’s water everywhere, be it moderate rains or on the coast. And waves…they’re so sexy to me. It’s that soothing but rhythmic one-two punch. I’d read a few erotica books set in other highly populated areas and none seemed to be here, so I felt like it was high time the Bay Area got some quality love! As for BDSM here…San Francisco is such a far cry from many places in our country. There’s a lot of open-mindedness (never mind several BDSM and sex club options), so, if there aren’t more people exploring it here there are at least more aware of and open to it here, I think. 

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Was your focus on safety and consent a response to the perceptions in popular culture of BDSM? Were you trying to address any cultural myths about kinky relationships?

JADE A. WATERS: YES!!! (Sorry, was I shouting?) I have read and heard about far too many misconceptions that BDSM is actually abuse. This is dead wrong. A consensual BDSM relationship is a beautiful thing. A nonconsensual relationship of any type is abuse. But BDSM is not a synonym for abuse, and many people still believe this is the case because unfortunately in real life and in fiction some do treat it as an excuse to abuse. That’s a no-no. Also, I think consent is an extremely important topic. I need to preface this with the fact that I under no circumstances believe it is a fiction writer’s job to educate the public on consent or to only write consensual scenes—and it drives me crazy that people say otherwise. However, if one is writing a BDSM story and they don’t intend for the dom to be an abusive character, then one does have to be a responsible writer and make sure the consent, communication, and negation is there in a healthy way. For Maya and Dean’s story, consent and safety was imperative, both because I wanted them to have a real and healthy BDSM relationship, and because Maya’s backstory requires safety in her relationships. Period.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: What were your favorite and least favorite parts of writing this trilogy?

JADE A. WATERS: This is strangely the hardest question you’ve given me, Rachel! 🙂 Favorite…man, all of it? The way the story morphed over time, and at the same time challenged me and exorcised some of my own demons. I really loved Maya’s growth throughout the series (just you wait until book 3), and it felt good to watch her develop. Same for Dean. Hardest? Mmmm…my life, like, completely blew up at the start of drafting book 2. So I think it would be cool to try writing a series not under so much life stress! (You hear that, Universe? Eh-hm.) Part of that was the pace, and part was just all that was going on. But, I think it worked out all right!

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Can you give us a hint at what happens in The Discipline, which was just published, and the third book, The Reward?

Jade A. Waters: Happy to! The Discipline sees Maya and Dean learning the discipline of having a serious relationship while also exploring more sexual discipline, which means more play, and several really hot fantasies that will definitely challenge them. A. Lot. By The Reward, they’re not only more stable but stronger…however, some past challenges will confront them, hard. We will see tremendous growth in both characters…as well as in their relationship. It’s a mighty reward!

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: What have the responses been like from readers to the series?

JADE A. WATERS: Fairly positive, I think! Some people seemed to really like their dynamic and the story, which is amazing to hear. Some wanted more Dean in book 1, which I knew would show up in book 2 because The Assignment was more about Maya’s growth…so I’m hoping they find what they’re seeking when they read on. I try not to read reviews too closely and when I do I just figure to each her own, but so far it seems people are enjoying, which is such a compliment.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Anything else to add?

JADE A. WATERS: Yes…a giant thank you for having me over!!

Click here to read a sexy free excerpt from The Discipline, which is available for purchase for Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

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Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) has edited over 60 anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 and 2, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, Begging for It, Fast Girls, The Big Book of Orgasms and more. She writes widely about sex, dating, books and pop culture and teaches erotica writing classes around the country and online. Follow her @raquelita on Twitter and find out more about her classes and consulting at eroticawriting101.com.

NEVER SWEETER: The Sweet Darkness in Charlotte Stein’s Dark Obsessions Trilogy

9 Mar

This one is going into my “special” kindle folder. ; >

by Madeline Iva

We posted a fun excerpt from Charlotte Stein’s story NEVER BETTER last Sunday.  NEVER BETTER is the final book in her Dark Obsession trilogy, so of course, I read it first, and then worked my way backwards, cause I’m perverse like that. I gobbled down NEVER BETTER like a chocolate chip cookie and advise you to do the same.  Now I’d like to take you on a journey through the open-mouthed, kindle-clutching, eye-squeezing moments I had while reading NEVER SWEETER, the first book in the series.  How to do so without delivering any spoilers is gonna be hard, but here I go…

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE GOES TO THE DARK SIDE

What really keeps a man and a woman apart these days if they want to be together? Not much. After plundering the treasure chest of meet-cutes and other fabulously quirky ways to bring two people together and then keep them apart for two hundred odd pages, contemporary romance has gone to the dark side.

I personally blame paranormal romance.  Let’s face it–paranormal romance is just so much easier.  Look at the obstacles a heroine faces—Example: “He’s a vampire who’s killed THOUSANDS of people and he’s hundreds of years older than me.  How could we ever be together?” it’s a really messed up situation.

CRAZY-WRONG “I’D HAVE TO BE INSANE TO BE WITH SOMEONE AS EVIL AS YOU” SITUATION= STRONG ROMANTIC ROAD BLOCKS = LOTS OF ROMANCE FEELS & GREAT TENSION

After all, 50 Shades was based on a paranormal romance, wasn’t it?  E.L. James just fished around for a modern day ‘real’ equivalent for a evil-but-not-really, self-loathing, brooding hero.  She came up with a billionaire sadist, around the same time other authors were also plonking down flags into anti-hero territory. Do we want to blame 50 Shades for all the motorcycle clubs, hit-men, crime families, and other anti-hero-ish trappings that are so popular these days? No, but I think the E.L. James phenomenon illustrates a sweeping trend, and Charlotte Stein has taken some steps down the same path.

BUT CHARLOTTE STEIN ISN’T LIKE THAT! SHE’S SO SWEETLY DIRTY…

But maybe sometimes she isn’t. INTRUSION and some of her other works have strayed from abused heroines into more plum-colored territory. Which brings us to NEVER SWEETER.  Let’s look at the blurb:

Letty Carmichael can’t believe her eyes when she catches a glimpse of her high school tormenter, wrestling champ Tate Sullivan, on campus. College was supposed to be her escape from Tate’s constant ridicule. Now he’s in her classes again, just waiting for his chance to make her life hell.

skipping, skipping, skipping…

Loving him is impossible. Craving him is beyond all reason. So why can’t she stop?

Falling in love with your high school bully is messed up, peopleKids, don’t try this at home.

However, line by line Stein just sucks you in.  Great dialogue, great side-kick friend, very specific descriptions of torments she endured and then Tate — a classic Stein-i-an hero, just takes over.

What do we like about Tate? We like that he’s open, agreeable, and fast on his feet.  We like that he’s hotness plus, and can read people–especially the heroine–quickly.  We like that he’s a sexual beast wrapped up in a Nice Boy package–but is he really trustworthy?  It’s that last part that keeps readers furiously turning the pages and riding all the highs and shocking lows.

Why was he such a monumental dick? This is the big answer we need to know. Stein gives you answers, and then sweeps on by.  Do we believe these answers–ah! This is where she’s brilliant, because doubts may  linger, and she plays upon these same doubts later.

I just went through such a roller coaster of emotions with this book.  It really was so incredibly sweet at points–which is what I do look for from Stein–and so sweetly filthy at others–which is what I relish about Stein–and at other times it was kinda like a horror movie.  There’s a Carrie reference and it’s seriously well earned.

I think at one point I shouted “No!” in shock.  At another point I kinda cried, almost.  The whole time I felt as guilty as the heroine for being so sucked into a kind of situation that I would NEVER EVER EVER!!!! endorse in a million years in ‘real life’.

So go buy it already.

Meanwhile, I got the skinny from Charlotte Stein about RAW HEAT — her so good it hurts post-apocalyptic romance that’s out of print right now. Talk about bullying! It’s really unfair clobbering my friends and even total strangers over the head for not having read RAW HEAT if it’s not even in print. Stein has said she’s going to re-pub it in a collection with some of her other post-apocalyptic/paranormal stuff.  So happy about that. Soon none of you will have any excuse.

Okay, I’ve started going into Charlotte Stein withdrawal, so I’ll sign off for now.

Follow us at Lady Smut–if you want to.  It’s your own choice.  Really. We’d never bully you about it.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_low_res_500x750

 

Edge of Power by Megan Crane: A Review

6 Mar

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

The highly anticipated, third installment of Megan Crane’s EDGE series, EDGE OF POWER, is finally here. Okay, technically, it releases tomorrow. Allow me the dramatic flourish.

This is Wulf’s book, the charismatic, fear-inspiring, panties-melting, ruthless leader of the raider brotherhood. Fans of the EDGE series have been greatly anticipating his book since he first appeared sprawled on a beach with lazy deception in EDGE OF OBSESSION and all readers sat up and said “hel-lo!”

Look! A blurb!

The ultimate Viking warrior meets outlaw biker: Wulf, the Raider King. He rules a future, destroyed world with the force of his will alone. Now he will meet the one woman who will change…everything.

Wulf is king of his clan and the ruthless head of the raider brotherhood.

Every foe in his path surrenders to his will. But when his mortal enemy’s beguiling daughter gets under his skin the way no one else ever has, a whole new intensity from the Raider King is unleashed…the fiery strength of dark passion and hard-hitting lust.

Kathlyn is no fan of the life she’s been forced to live under her savage father’s unforgiving rule. But the bold and powerful barbarian who steals her innocence—and her heart—is a dangerous bet. There’s nothing safe about a man who wants to destroy everything she knows and burn it to the ground. Except if Wulf can set her free, maybe safety is overrated…

Will the overwhelming heat of her warrior-king lead to something more powerful than either of them can imagine?

Strewth!

EDGE OF POWER has a lot going on betwixt it pages. But for all that, it is a slower book than the three that precede it. Let me qualify: it doesn’t read slow and the pace doesn’t drag. You’ll be hooked and unable to set it down without finishing first. I read it in one big gulp. It bulges with Crane’s signature sexy scenes and ribald, earthy language, and creative descriptions. Her world building continues to be imaginative and engaging, with increasingly more than a touch of prescience. I’m constantly struck by the relevance of this world’s structure and politics, and it, I think not accidentally, regularly calls to mind The Handmaid’s Tale. In EDGE OF POWER, a noble woman’s sexual status is noted by the color she wears. Kathlyn can only wear gold, which not only marks her publicly as a virgin princess, “but the particular property of the king.” Her virginity is considered her father’s to own and dispel as he sees fit. Kathlyn’s worth, like most women in this world, is solely equated with her sexual status. Beyond that, she has no value to her father or her world at large. Given our current political climate, a large part of which is unduly concerned with policing the sexual and reproductive rights of women, this seems like a particularly uncomfortable insight to our possible future. With or without Viking raiders.

Click on image to buy!

Click on image to buy!

EDGE OF POWER is a long burn of a story. Despite being action man, take-what-he-wants, never apologize, battle loving, Viking raider clan leader, for most of this book, Wulf is forced to bridle his instincts and usual modus operendi for a long wait and the messy, bloody dance of politics with his enemy. It’s totally against his nature. He wants to main and pillage and plunder and exact righteous revenge for the sins and insults the king has waged against Wulf’s clan before Wulf and the brotherhood were even aware of his existence. This juxtaposition simmers through the entire narrative, building a tension along the way that is almost gleeful in its release, once all things align and Wulf is finally set free of his self-imposed restraint.

This is a book about patience, not a prized virtue among the brotherhood. Wulf has to be patient and resist his instincts to rip his enemies apart and just get the job done. He knows if he makes the wrong move, all of his people will be at mortal risk. He has to taper his usual methods and play the long game, consorting with known enemies, weaklings and fools to his eyes, in order to gain the advantage and have his plan come to fruition. Kathlyn is one woman, a woman who is not under his protection. He cannot risk his clan for the daughter of his greatest enemy, a woman whose loyalties and ambitions are still a mystery. Yet, as the story goes on, his instinct and need expands to include Kathlyn. Wulf struggles to make decisions he knows will benefit his clan and his detailed, complex plan, but these are choices he also knows for which Kathlyn will, and does, suffer. He wrestles with that dual edge of being the leader when the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the king.

But Kathlyn has been at this game far longer than Wulf can initially imagine. Her patience is epic and her ability to survive the most heinous of circumstances is far beyond Wulf’s expectations. “I’m a princess, not a raider,” she tells Wulf in their first encounter. “If I launched myself into battle every time someone insulted me, I would’ve been dead long ago.”

Since the brutal death of her mother at the hand of her sociopath, psycho father, King Athenian, Kathlyn has existed in a living hell, staying as quiet and unobtrusive as she can manage, enduring unfathomable humiliations and dangers just by being the yet virginal daughter of the king, a commodity her father plans to auction off to the highest bidder at his convenience. It’s a carrot he’s dangled before the nobles for so long that Kathlyn herself is seriously tired of the wait. She wants to wear anything other than the gold dresses that define her, and not only because she’s desperate for a wardrobe change. At her level of nobility, the deflowering of a noble virgin is a public ceremony, done on a large bed in the great hall before all the world. Nothing like performance anxiety, yeah? Kathlyn wants to control at least this one thing in a world where being a princess is more of a prison than the lowliest offender has ever seen.

This is a world, remember, that had deemed sex only necessary for procreation to repopulate the world. People here enter into winter marriages where, if a child is conceived, they may stay together for a year until that child is born. If there is no child, both parties go their own ways. Pleasure doesn’t come into the matter at all. No foreplay, no fun. Just copulation for procreation.

Or, at least, for the women. The men indulge in sex for pleasure all they want (naturally). Kathlyn knows all too well how rampant this hypocrisy is among the men of the court. Finally deeming her virginity a burden she can no longer bear, she decides to offer it to the Raider King, a barbarian she’s sure won’t quibble over defiling his “host,” the king’s, daughter. Doing the deed puts Kathlyn’s life at enormous risk, but she’s reached the end of that long stretch of patience that’s kept her alive this long. Whomever she’s bargained off to in the end, she wants first to be able to make one choice for herself, especially about so intimate an event. Because, for the first time in a lifetime of restraint, of not allowing herself to want or need anything only to see it wrenched away, of living a quiet half-life always aware that her father could kill her in the next moment, Kathlyn wants. Wulf awakens in her a pulsing need, not just for sex, but for the wild freedom he represents to her. The crazy idea of choice and desire, of a life spent living and not enduring.

Here again, though, Wulf must resist his urges and instincts as he knows screwing Kathlyn will put both her life and his mission in danger. Obviously, since this is a romance, that resistance doesn’t last, but there is genuine, uncharacteristic struggle in Wulf about what he does to and with Kathlyn. He takes time with her, not only sexually, protecting her in his limited way and when he can’t, working to at least make their sins worthy of her punishments. They also take great risks to be together, and eventually, this leads to their (temporary) downfall. Even when forced into humiliating situations together, designed to denigrate and demean Kathlyn especially, Wulf does what he can to protect her, always keeping in mind what risk it may or may not pose to his mission. He strains against the inability to shield her from her father’s unreasonable and unpredictable wrath. Wulf’s burden of failure grows as he and Kathlyn’s situation becomes more and more perilous. Ultimately, he has to choose between his clan and his woman, perversely giving Kathlyn the life he thinks she wants by taking away the man she’s discovered she needs. Heavy hangs the head of the king.

Author Megan Crane

Author Megan Crane

Yet Wulf has the advantage of knowing how this game ends, or at least how he expects it to end, given his faith in the superiority of his brotherhood and confidence in the soundness of their strategy. Kathlyn takes these risks with him fully expecting to pay the ultimate price. She is so weary of her life, so tired of being afraid, so done with being victimized by her savage, sociopath of a father, even death is a relief, death on her terms, making her own choices, and, for once, feeling bliss with a barbarian who turns out to be the only man in her life to ever give a damn about her. Her strength of spirit in mind-boggling. She not only endures, she triumphs in her resolution. Kathlyn may bend and submit as she needs to in order to survive, but she is far from beaten and defeated, even when physically, she is both. Crane sketches her with such deft and layered strokes that Kathlyn resonates with the emotional authenticity of real-life abuse victims.

EDGE OF POWER is richly drawn with a fascinating dystopian world that is not so far out of our reality. Wulf and Kathlyn’s slow burn of a relationship amidst the perils and pitfalls of a ruthless, unforgiving, brutal court and king is a careful tap dance of sexy subterfuge beneath which lies the delicate waltz of conflict between duty and desire, where a woman with no hope who is accustomed to being betrayed by those closest to her falls for a man whose stalwart faith in his brotherhood and his own purpose cannot be shaken. EDGE OF POWER is sexy and sensual, fierce and touching. A fitting fulfillment of the Raider King’s story.

EDGE OF POWER is available for pre-order and will be on sale March 7, 2017.

A copy of this book was provided to the reviewer by the publisher via NetGalley. You can see more Lady Smut reviews of this series, along with a guest post from Megan Crane about the EDGE series, here.

P.S. If you join Megan Crane’s Clan Facebook page and/or check out her website, you’ll see the absolutely stunning map that her animator (as opposed to animated) husband drafted. As a visually oriented person, having the colorful, detailed map definitely helps me to picture this new, greatly changed world.

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.

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