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A Shameless Excerpt from Toys for Boys

Just a little Sunday quickie shameless excerpt for you from my unusual M/M novella,
Toys for Boys. I had the pleasure of reliving my own walk across England on the Wainwright Coast to Coast walk while writing this totally fun and playful story. It felt especially appropriate now that the weather is leaning more heavily toward Spring.

 

Toys for Boys Blurb:

Alpha nerd Will Charles teams up with Caridoc ‘Doc’ Jones in a coast to coast walk across England reviewing outdoor gift suggestions for the Christmas edition of Toys for Boys—an online magazine dedicated to the latest gadgets to tickle a man’s fancy. Will is recording their adventures with the latest smart phone technology. Doc is reviewing the latest outdoor gear. The two quickly discover the great outdoors provides even better toys for boys, toys best shared al fresco, toys that, in spite of Will’s great camera work, will never be reviewed in Toys for Boys.

 

You’re Late: Toys for Boys Excerpt 

“You’re late,” Doc said to Will fucking Charles, who was supposed to meet him at St. Bee’s Head an hour ago.

AtToys for Boys, Will Charles’ moniker was ‘the Alpha Nerd.’ Doc had read some of his reviews and articles but never met him. Since T4B, as they all called it, was an online magazine, he’d never met any of the people who worked there, and he liked that just fine. The best part of free-lancing was no neurotic colleagues and no idiot supervisor looking over his shoulder. Will Charles reviewed computers, smart phones, and games—rubbish like that, while Doc reviewed all the stuff that gave the outdoorsy blokes a hard-on. It was late in the season to be walking the Coast to Coast, but T4B wanted the walk and the boys toys that would accompany Will and Doc on said walk to be a part of their big Christmas issue, which was always driven by shameless consumerism and chock full of the expensive shit to buy for the man who has everything. The article would be atmospheric, they said. It would be fun, they said.

Alpha Nerd, his left nut, Doc thought. The skinny geek with the expensive looking iPhone could have passed for a twelve-years-old—spotty face, heavy-rimmed glasses and all. Looked like Doc’s dream walk was about to become a babysitting job for some whimpy-arsed kid who would whine every time he didn’t have a Wifi connection for his little games on his little phone. Doc wondered how the hell the bloke could even heft the backpack sitting on the floor beside him, and those brand new, straight-out-of-the-box walking boots guaranteed major blisters. This was supposed to be twelve glorious days alone on the Wainwright Coast to Coast path across England. This was supposed to be total outdoor bliss. He had been looking forward to it for months and then, at the last minute, T4B ruined it all by insisting Will fucking Charles tag along with his expensive little camera phone to record the event. Bromance, they said. Adventure and companionship, they said. Merry fucking Christmas! T4B didn’t pay him nearly enough for this shit.

“We’ve got fourteen and a half miles to walk today, and the rain isn’t going to make it any easier.” He nodded to where his own pack sat by the table in the corner of the Seacote Hotel where he’d slugged back enough coffee to guarantee he’d be caffeine-fueled for at least part of that distance; the rest he’d be off in the bushes pissing.

As he turned to go, the lad just looked at him like he’d spoke Chinese. “Is that the Smart phone you’re supposed to be reviewing?” Doc snapped. “Do you need it to translate for you maybe? Hope it’s smart enough to figure out how we can make up for the lost time you cost us.”

“That’s just an iPhone,” came a voice from behind. “This is the device I’ll be reviewing.” To Doc’s horror, he turned to find himself being videoed by a man who definitely passed as an alpha—an alpha bastard at the moment. The sleek black device he pointed at Doc was labelledurBrainin gold letters. Seriously? Were T4B having a laugh?

Doc gritted his teeth and tried to count to ten, but only made it to three. “Perhaps you’d like to turn off urBrainbefore I cram it up urArse?”

Undaunted by Doc’s threat, the bloke continued to video as he added, “as for young Nigel here, well I rather think his boss at the Seacote might have something to say about him following us on the Coast to Coast. Nice boots,” he said to the kid.

Just then an American tourist the size of a bus blew in through the door, tipped Nigel and thanked him in a very southern accent. He hefted the backpack with a grunt, and headed out into the rain. “As for this little jewel,” Doc turned his attention back to the real Will fucking Charles, “well if I hadn’t had this lovely piece of kit to guide me on an alternative route, I’d still be sitting in traffic behind the overturned tractor with everyone else heading for St. Bee’s Head this lovely morning. So there, you see. It’s already saved us time. Oh, sorry,” he said, offering his hand. I’m Will.” Before Doc could do more than gop, the man slid an arm around him and guided him seamlessly into a selfie.

“Day one of the Wainwright Coast to Coast, and after a near disaster,” he spoke for the camera, “I’m here with Caradoc Doc Jones, the Welsh Woodsman and outdoorsman extraordinaire, about to head into the rain towards our first stop at Ennerdale Bridge. Say hi, Doc.”

Doc managed a wave and a grimace of a smile at urBrain, and Will continued. “We have 192 miles and twelve days to get from St. Bee’s Head on the Irish Sea all the way across England to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea, with fourteen and a half miles to make today, so best get on with it.”

 

 

Spring Giveaways and Gossip

 

Spring is upon us at last my Lovelies!

 

Er … well according to the calendar, at least, and the wind March is so notorious for seems to have played itself out at long last. That’s a great start! There are buds on the trees, crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths are blooming themselves silly and best of all, the days are getting longer. That means more hours of reading time! Well, okay, maybe not technically, but who doesn’t like to read in the sunshine? That being the case, let’s get on with this month’s fab giveaways and gossip.

 

 

Heat Heart and Happily Ever After Paranormal Giveaway

 

If you’re a fan of the fabulous love lives of witches and vamps, shifters and demons, this is the giveaway for you. Or if you just want to check out how the preternatural half lives, here is your chance. Follow the link and enjoy a great spine tingling, goose bump raising, steamy HEA!

https://books.bookfunnel.com/heathearthappilyeverafter/ai496xm99o

 

 

Spring Steamy Romances

 

We’re talking contemporary romance … LOTS of contemporary romance! Nothing says spring like a good HEA, unless it’s a whole bunch of good HEAs. And when those fabulous steamy romances are FREE for the grabbing, how could spring not be in the air. Follow the link and get yourself some seriously sizzling spring romance.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/f9h832hfkk/9mqvbc3mgo

 

 

Listening to my Inner Demon

 

And did I mention demons? Well at least one demon anyway. The Guardian has
pulled a bit of a switch-up on me, and so have Circe and Richard Waters AKA Poseidon, so there has been some serious back tracking and rewriting going on in A Demon’s Tale,but hopefully at some point all my characters will be satisfied with the plot enough to leave me alone and let me write.

 

There’s an excerpt from A Demon’s Taleon my blog you’ll want to check out, and if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the juicy interview with Elise North. Seems our Elise is full of surprises that even the Guardian is impressed by.

 

 

A New Excerpt from A Demon’s Tale

It’s rough and ready … well getting that way, but here is a new excerpt from my WIP
A Demon’s Tale to tease you and appease you for the long wait. Book Four of the Medusa Consortium Series, and the novel in which all the characters decided to take control away from the writer. Sigh! Negotiations are in progress.

 

The Demon Begs a Favour

It was the early hours when he came to her again. Susan had drank more wine than she could have ever tolerated before she became a vampire, and still it barely took the edge off. She was considering taking on Magda’ drink of choice to up the ante, but it didn’t really seem to be any more effective on her, so she figured the woman drank single malt for comfort more than effect. She understood that. Upstairs in their room Michael slept. She figured everyone else in the house slept. Magda had sent the jet to Manchester for both Annie and Alonso. Annie didn’t need to be alone and she reckoned Reese would need Alonso, and Susan. And she would need them both as well as Michael if the shit hit the fan, and when was the shit not hitting the fan these days. She slouched in front of the fireplace where the fire she did not need blazed. Her Mac cast a pale light across her desk behind her, open to a nearly blank document. It said only “Just because you dream it, doesn’t mean it’s not real.” It made no sense in terms of anything but her own suffering, and yet that single statement kept coming back to her. The fact that everything would take place in the Guardian’s dream construct, perhaps was playing on her and not allowing her to see more clearly.

She still would not allow herself to sleep even though she had been assured she was safe in the dream world at the moment. Talia had even offered to take her to the dream world succubus style. But she couldn’t sleep even if she wanted to, not when the Guardian was soon to strip aside all that he was becoming and face the witch with everything that had made him so terrifying and so irresistible and dangerous to everyone in the world, human and otherwise. This he was doing, in no small part, because of her, and he had left thinking she did not trust him. So lost was she in her thoughts that when he all but burst into that space inside her mind, she jumped.

“Susan, I have very little time. The witch is stronger that I remember her to be. Oh do not worry, I shall succeed in my mission,” he crowded in tight and gave her no room to speak, and the pressure in her chest from the weight of him was almost unbearable. “I cannot linger, but I must beg of you a favor before the witch is upon me and I must be other than I am with you and those we love.”

“Anything.”

She regretted her words instantly at his request. “You must not believe anything you glimpse in my dream world, for I will not be myself, but I hunger, Susan, I hunger knowing what she will give to me willingly. I do not wish it so but it must be if I am to complete my task.” Still he gave her no room to speak. “I ask that when I have done what I must, when I return, if I … if I can no longer remember what I am, what you and all our friends are to me, that you will, without the slightest delay, return me to the depths of isolation in the dungeon deep inside you, for I do not wish any of those I care about to suffer because of me, nor to see me as I was.”

“That won’t be necessary,” she managed, her blood roaring in her veins, every muscle in her body aching to stop him. “You’ll come back to us whole and more yourself than ever. I trust you.”

“I do not trust myself, Susan, so I beg you promise me.”

“Please don’t –”

“Please, Susan, I beg you!” his urgency bled through into the room, terrifying her in ways she would have never expected.

“If it comes to that, I will,” then she added quickly, “but it won’t. I know it won’t.”

“Thank you, Susan,” the relief bled through his voice in a way she had never heard before. “I must go. She will come soon.”

“G,” she was surprised at how easily the simple name he had allowed Elise North to give him came to her now, and she sensed him turning, pausing, taking in the sound of it coming from her lips. “Do what you have to and hurry back to us.”

And then he was gone, his absence aching along her nerve endings and exploding into her chest into the vast chasm his absence always left. And just like that, she understood. Just like that, the spell appeared in her head.

She grabbed her cell phone and called Talia. “Get up here now.” She didn’t wait for a response, but settled in front of the computer, where the words she had written now made perfect sense, and the spell became clear. Typing frantically, she called the Guardian back to her for the briefest of moments, feeling his anxiety snake across her skin like static electricity. “Can you hold Circe off for just a little longer? The spell has come to me,” she said without pausing from her efforts. Then she opened her mind to him so he could see exactly what the spell involved.

“Will the succubus agree?” He asked with quiet calm.

Just then Talia knocked, but burst into the room without waiting for a response. “What?” was all she said, but her breath caught with a little hitch the moment she saw Susan at her laptop. Without another word she moved to stand behind her and read over her shoulder. Susan felt the Guardian as though he stood looking over her other shoulder. For a long moment Talia said nothing, and then she let out a long, slow whistle. “You are one crazy bitch, Susan Innes.” Then she bent and kissed her cheek. “I’ve always liked that about you.”

 

 

 

The Side Effects of a Good Read

I’ve spent the last week dragging around with a brutal cold. I’m very seldom ill, and almost never ill enough to take to bed. But this time, without full brain function, it seemed the expedient thing to do — lousy timing or not. While I groused and grumbled between sniffles and sneezes, aches and pains, I also made a discovery. I did have enough brainpower to lose myself in a good read. Since I wasn’t sleeping well for the first couple of nights, I took full advantage, binge rereading Naomi Novik’s wonderful Temeraireseries, while snuffling and coughing and feeling sorry for myself. Who doesn’t feel better after quality time spent with a dragon?

 

I’m on the mend now. Though I’m still dragging, still dealing with the after effects. But here’s the thing. Being forced to take some down time and fully indulge in the pleasure of a good read was worth every sniffle and ache. It’s not that I don’t do my best to make sure there’s reading time in my schedule. It’s just that it’s often the first thing to go when that schedule gets tight. It’s sad that it takes a nasty bug to remind me that reading is far more than just my duty as a writer. It’s far more than just a frivolous pleasure; it’s a priming of the pump, a feeding of the creativity, a grounding for the storyteller in me.

 

Creativity cultivates creativity, and being inspired by the works of other people’s imaginations is one of the best ways I know of to be more productive and more creative myself. Sadly that fact is one of the easiest things for a busy writer to forget. I’m willing to bet it’s one of the easiest things for most of us to forget, whether we write or not.

 

I used to read every novel with the idea of learning how to be a better writer – whether the novel was a good one or not. Now I’m way less likely to even finish a poorly written novel. Time is too valuable. More often now I hold out for the really good novels, and I read them for the sheer pleasure of being drawn outside myself into another world, into another person, into an experience far different from my own. Coming off a good read, I’m reminded just exactly why the ancient storytellers in some cultures sat with kings and queens as their equals.

 

It’s far too easy to pick up all of our information in bits and pieces off social media

and the Internet. We’re connected in ways we could have never imagined even twenty years ago. But while all the information we could ever want and, in some cases WAY too much, is available at our fingertips, the magic, the real magic, only happens when we slow down, back away and let the storytellers enthrall us.

 

Buffy, Anita and Vampire Lurve

It all started with Frank Langella’s 1979 film version of Dracula and the scene of the
seduction of Lucy.  I was a university student at the time with libido through the roof and an imagination to match. Oh, the fantasies! I couldn’t keep from wondering, even back then, just why those vampire seductions, those “turnings,” which were quite often so outrageously sexy, had to end with the turnee becoming the turner’s mindless minion and hideous restaurant. I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if the exchange was a little more equitable.

 

The first vampire stories I ever read were Anne Rice’s Lestat novels. I always found it disappointing that, in her books, while those turnings, those makings of fledgling vampires, were often little more than a disturbingly sexy rape, the vampires themselves, once turned, were very sensual but specifically not sexual. I wanted it all. I wanted the turnees fucked, turned and then fucked some more. But finally! halleluiah! Buffy and Anita happened.

 

“Seriously? Buffy the Vampire Slayer?” That was my initial response when I first saw the film at my sister-in-law’s house a hundred years ago. But I her teenage girls were watching it on cable, so what could I do but watch along … with bated breath.

 

“Really? They actually made a television series out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?” That was my first reaction when I was bored-channel-surfing one evening a year of so later and came across an early episode. “Are they that hard up for subject matter,” I groused. And then I watched it … all seven seasons of it … some more than once.

 

“Oh you have got to be kidding? Derivative much?” That was what I thought the first time I saw one of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake novels. “Another vampire slayer? Haven’t vampires been done to death?” No pun intended. But I read them… well not all, but a good eight or ten or so…

 

With Buffy and Anita, at last we had arrived! The vampire slayers were now seducing the vampires, and making them tow the line. While the sex in Buffy had to be soft enough for evening television, not so the sex in the Anita Blake stories. Though in the early novels, the main character is celibate with a tendency toward heavy petting and heavier still neurotic angsting over it. But in both cases, seduction was always only a breath away. That sexy pull of the dark is what we live for, right? The cost for Buffy was devastating. For Anita the sexy vampire was just the beginning of a kinky, steamy and very neurotic paranormal journey. I felt like I had come home.

 

I never thought I’d write vampires. In fact, I balked at writing paranormal in general
until I realized that it was the perfect place to explore the darker side of the erotic without all the rules and regulations that restrict contemporary erotic fiction. But even so it was witches, demons and ghosts for me. I wasn’t brave enough to tackle vampires. And then Alonso Darlington burst on to the scene in Landscapes, which
was not only my first M/M story written for the Brit Boys on Boysboxed set, but Alonso was my first vampire. Back then I never dreamed he’d become so dear to my heart, and that he’d worm his way into being a key player in my Medusa’s Consortium series.

 

I’ve learned a great deal from vampires. Paranormal in general is a great way to explore the dark side of human nature. But I think vampires are the best way of all because they once were human, and they either tend to despise that which they used to be or yearn for what they’ve lost. Both responses are so utterly human and both
are equally fascinating. Vampires provide the perfect place to contemplate that age-old question: Who are the realmonsters? Quite often, they’re not who I think. Quite often the worst of them live down deep inside me. Oh Freud, where are you when we need you?

 

Once I started writing paranormal stories, I found them particularly freeing. No one insists on vampires and shifters and other scary dudes wearing condoms. It’s pretty much a given that there is nothing safe about fucking a vampire or a demon, and if the whole idea doesn’t scare the reader as much as it turns her on, then what’s the point?

 

From long before Frank Langella to Buffy to Anita and to everything since, there has always been a very close relationship between fear and arousal, which in my humble opinion makes the arousal even more arousing. The iconic sex scenes between the young and beautiful couple in a horror movie is always followed by the ghoul, serial killer or other baddie murdering the lovers in a horrible way. A part of what is so arousing about paranormal sex is the breaking of so many taboos, the attraction to something that the world says should horrify us. Oh we’re no less horrified for our attraction, if anything we’re more so. That combination of attraction and repulsion makes us doubt ourselves for feeling things we shouldn’t. Sound familiar?

 

In paranormal stories that boundary between what arouses us and what terrifies us is so deliciously permeable that crossing it can get us into all kinds of trouble and then some. But crossing that boundary also brings with it the possibility of gifts and powers and abilities as well as a tumble into sex raised to something both divine and diabolical.

 

What is forbidden in erotica by most publishers doesn’t apply to paranormal. Some of the most erotic scenes I’ve ever read are of vampires taking blood from or giving blood to their lovers. In fact in some novels the sharing of blood enhances the pleasure exponentially. Blood holds within it life and identity. It contains the magic of who we are as individuals. We don’t have to lose a whole lot if it before we die. It also is the transport for horrific diseases, a river of both life and contagion that terrifies us as much as it fascinates us. That it’s all contained in such a fragile sensitive vessel as the human body only amplifies its preciousness and its power.

 

Vampire stories are the perfect place to explore dubious consent and loss of control. When dealing with vampires, demons, witches and magic, is consent ever less than dubious? Is there any better place to explore safely that total loss of control that comes from giving oneself over to the forbidden? Isn’t that really what the archetypal stories of seduction by the gods is all about? In the arms of a monster, with all our human frailties, there’s no guarantee of survival. And then there’s the terrifying thought of what we will become if we survive. How can we not be forever changed – for good or for ill. How can the resulting story not be intriguing?

 

The truth is that while we might be happy to dabble in the darker side of our sexuality, on a fundamental level, the very act of sex is frightening. It is the losing of self in the other, the opening to the unknown. It is the allowing ourselves to be more
vulnerable than we are in any other act. It is the giving up of control. All of these elements are, by nature, a part of sex — sex that carries at its core both the possibility of conception and of death. The vampire’s tale is an augmentation of all of those elements, a sharpening of their edges to take us into unexplored territory beyond la petit mort.

 

That all we fear and all we desire in sex can be raise to the nth degree when placed in a paranormal setting and examined from the intimately terrifying safety of a book or a film or a television series allows us to vicariously experience the darker side of our desires. I would suggest that there are few better ways to explore our humanity than taking an erotic journey with the monsters in the dark who are more like us, and far closer to us, than we can easily admit.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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