It’s always a pleasure to have Sommer Marsden over at mine. Today she’s talking about her latest novel, Restricted Release and name problems. Welcome, Sommer!
I would like to go on the official erotica record and say that I wrote Restricted Release two summers ago (almost typed sommers, no lie). Two summers ago The Doctor’s companions were Amy Pond and Rory. Just saying…
Why am I just saying? Because Clara, my Clara in RR, is not based on the Impossible Girl.
I said to my kids when Clara arrived, “You just know people are going to say I got my Clara’s name from Doctor Who.” [frownie face]
Non-Whovians are currently sitting here wondering what the hell I’m talking about.
I will barrel on nonetheless.
I wrote Restricted Release over the summer, and my original plans for it were to publish it in print only as a December Ink title. I had my own crazy reasons, I won’t go into them. But I wanted to choose a name for my heroine that was a bit old fashioned. Clara won. Mostly because I knew a Miss Clara growing up and hadn’t heard the name in ages.
Until Doctor Who found her, that is.
Now this happened to me with the name Bella. I used it in a story and tada! Suddenly, Bella Bella everywhere. Twilightapalooza and the name is ruined for us all.
Fortunately, Clara is not nearly as famous as Bella, but still. Can you believe that luck? So I just wanted to say that on the record. I had it first. I have another book with an old fashioned-y kind of name in it. I’m crossing my fingers and wishing upon a star that I won’t see it in anything else, but seriously, not holding my breath. It wouldn’t work anyway.
Clara is the recovering anorexic who’s nearly become a shut-in after the end of her emotionally abusive marriage. Matt is the new boy next door. Graphic artist, nice guy, funny…accepting of Clara. She wants him, he wants her—but Clara is afraid.
Nadia is the stand-in—Matt’s idea, Clara’s challenge to accept. A longtime friend of Matt’s, she’s a sexual surrogate intended to guide Clara until she’s not afraid of Matt’s desire for her or hers for him. Twosomes become threesomes, watching becomes touching and lust becomes love.
When Matt moved in next door, lust was the last thing Clara expected. Two lovers never crossed her mind. And the need to make a choice was something she thought she’d never encounter. But she’s bolder now, healing, and everything has changed. And a choice must be made, no matter how hard.
An Excerpt From: RESTRICTED RELEASE:
We sat in the center of his box-cluttered living room floor on a large blanket. Around us was scattered some leftover takeout, cheese, crackers, a box of lemon cookies, mixed nuts, olives, pickles and a bottle of wine.
“This should be disgusting,” he said, eating a pickle with a piece of cheese on a cracker.
“But it‘s so, so good,” I said, eating my own cracker with cheese. I ate it in small nibbles because my stomach was electric.
“Really?” He cocked his head. “Because you barely seem to be eating.” He touched my leg with his bare foot. He was warm.
“I‘m eating.” I pulled the sweatshirt he‘d draped over me close to my body. Besides his sweatshirt, I wore my white slouchy socks and we‘d located my panties.
He held out a box of cookies. “I’m good,” I said.
Matt studied me. “I‘m not as dumb as I look, you know.”
I ate the rest of my cracker and took a sip of wine. It was nice. It had that whiskey aftertaste I usually hate and yet I didn‘t this time. There was enough of a fruity burst in it to temper the oak. “I don‘t think you look dumb at all. I think you look really smart,” I said.
I hoped he didn‘t hear the mixture of annoyance and anxiety in my voice. I wanted to get past the food thing.
“So tell me, mysterious neighbor. Why do you seem to be a person who sticks very close to home? Why do you seem so…gun-shy? Is that a good description?”
I tried to nod but my head barely moved.
“I know why I‘ve been a monkish man for almost a year. Why have you been Sister Clara Barrett?”
I cleared my throat. “I don‘t know.”
He cocked his head and then cut his eyes away. He tried to make it look nonchalant, but I knew what he was doing. He was giving me a moment to consider the situation.
Matt held up a hand, looking me right in the eye so I felt totally naked. For a crazy moment I felt as if there were no barriers between what was inside of me and what was inside of him. He said, “You were bold enough this morning to straight up tell me you wanted to have sex with me.”
I opened my mouth but he kept that silencing hand up and I shut my mouth with an audible snap. His fingers slipped beneath my sock, circled my ankle and he said very softly, “Please let me finish before you throw up your security fences and barriers.”
My throat was tight. I nodded.
“You were bold enough to watch me in my bathroom. When I probably could have spotted you at any time, and I sorta kind of did at the end there. And…” He squeezed my ankle and the pressure went right to my pussy. “You were bold enough to come over here on a…” He chuckled. “Booty call.”
I made a small noise of protest but then laughed. Our laughter mingled and I felt a rightness I couldn‘t remember feeling. It scared the shit out of me.
“But you won‘t tell me what your history is, Clara?” He didn‘t say it to belittle me. I could tell he wasn‘t angry. It was simply a question to help him understand. And that made me tell him.
I finished my wine in three big gulps and leaned back on my hands, keeping my legs in crisscross-applesauce fashion.
“I was married.” I picked at a loose thread on my sock and then looked at him. His eyes were amazing. Gorgeous and kind and deep—if they were the windows to Matt Millen’s soul, his soul was a wonder of the Universe.
“I‘m going to say this in one big breath and get it over with, okay?” I said, feeling my eyes sting a little. I willed myself not to cry. I could not cry. That would be stupid. That bad part of my life was over. I needed to move past it.
“Okay,” Matt said. His hand stayed around my ankle, loose but comforting. He wasn‘t eating or drinking, but he wasn‘t poking or prodding either. He was waiting. Listening. Paying attention.
“I was married to a man who wasn‘t…nice.” I shrugged but it felt like I was being blasé about something that was anything but. So I stilled my body and went on, willing myself to be strong. “He didn’t beat me or anything. But he carved me up emotionally. My sister Cat once said it would have been better if he had beaten me.” My voice had gotten small. My stomach hurt.
His eyes flashed with anger but he kept his face schooled. “And why is that?”
I blew out a shuddery breath and whispered. “She said that if he‘d left bruises on me—broke bones—I‘d have known that it was wrong. But as it stood, he got inside my head and…” I tapped my temple. “Fucked with me. He played on my biggest fears and weaknesses to control me. It‘s like in those books where you read about demons and possession and Hell,” I laughed. “He infiltrated my brain and he trapped me with my own fear.”
Matt sighed and popped an olive in his mouth. “I‘m going to go out on a limb here, slim lady, and say one of your issues is food and body image?”
My cheeks heated and I nodded, saying nothing at all. I had to fight the urge to cover myself with his sweatshirt. To pull it down over my knees and hide myself in it. It was a war I still waged most days, even thought I was alone about 80 percent of the time.
He watched me. He was waiting.
Inside scoop: Clara’s healing includes a hot woman who wants to show her how desirable she is, as well as f/m/f menagés.
About Sommer Marsden
Sommer Marsden’s been called “…one of the top storytellers in the erotica genre” (Violet Blue), “Unapologetic” (Alison Tyler), “…the whirling dervish of erotica” (Craig J. Sorensen),and “Erotica royalty…” (Lucy Felthouse).
Her erotic novels include Restricted Release, Restless Spirit, Boys Next Door, and Learning to Drown. Sommer currently writes erotica and erotic romance for Xcite Books, eXcessica, Ellora’s Cave, Pretty Things Press, Resplendence Publishing and Mischief Books. The wine-swigging, dachshund-owning, wannabe runner author writes work that runs the gamut from bondage to zombies to humor.
Sommer’s short works can be found in well over one hundred (and counting) erotic anthologies. Her short stories have also been included numerous adult and romance magazines–both in print and online. Visit her at Unapologetic Fiction http://sommermarsden.blogspot.com