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Lip Service

(From the Archives)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like it’s a proper sex scene, or even a proper PG love scene, unless there’s some serious lip action. Here are a few fun factoids about the lip lock that I discovered while I was writing my post for my Sunday Snog. They are from Psychology Today, How Stuff Worksand Random Facts:

 

  • The science of kissing is called philematology.
  • Lips are 100 times more sensitive than the tips of the fingers. They’re even more sensitive that the genitals!
  • The most important muscle in kissing is the orbicularis oris, whichallows the lips to “pucker.”
  • French kissing involves 34 muscles in the face, while a pucker kiss involves just two.
  • A nice romantic kiss burns 2-3 calories, while a hot sizzler can burn off five or even more.
  • The mucus membranes inside the mouth are permeable to hormones. Through open-mouth kissing, men introduced testosterone into a woman’s mouth, the absorption of which increases arousal and the likelihood of rumpy pumpy.
  • Apparently men like it wet and sloppy while women like it long and lingering.
  • While we Western folk do lip service, some cultures do nose service, smelling for that romantic, sexual connection. Very mammalian, if you ask me, and who doesn’t love a good dose of pheromonal yumminess?
  • Then there’s good old fashion bonding. It’s no secret that kissing someone you like increases closeness.

 

While all that’s interesting to know, what really intrigues me about kisses is how something seemingly so fragile can become so mind-blowingly powerful when lips, tongue, a whisp of breath, perhaps a nip of teeth are applied in the right proportion at the right time on the right part of the anatomy. And with the size of the human body in proportion to the mouth, the possibilities for a delicious outcome are only as limited as the imagination.

 

One theory is that kissing evolved from the act of mothers premasticating food for their infants, back in the pre-baby food days, and then literally kissing it into their mouths. Birds still do that. The sharing of food mouth to mouth is also a courtship ritual, and birds aren’t the only critters who do that. Even with no food involved the tasting, touching and sniffing of mouths of possible mates, or even as an act of submission, is very much a part of the animal kingdom.

 

The sharing of food is one of the most basic functions, the function that kept us all alive when we were too small to care for ourselves. The mouth is that magical place where something from the outside world is ingested and becomes a part of our inside world, giving us energy and strength. Not only is the mouth the receptacle for food, it’s the passage for oxygen. Pretty much all that has to pass into the body to sustain life passes through the mouth. I find it fascinating that the kiss, one of the most basic elements in Western mating ritual and romance, should involve such a live-giving part of our anatomy.

 

But the mouth does more than just allow for the intake of the sustenance we need. The mouth allows us voice. I doubt there are many people who appreciate that quite as much as we writers, who love words and the power they give us. And how can I think about the power of words without thinking about the power of words in song and poetry? Our mouths connect us in language, in thought, in the courtship of words that allow us to know and understand each other before those mouths take us to that intimate place of the kiss. And when that kiss becomes a part of our sexual experience, it’s that mouth, that tongue, those lips that allow us to say what we like and how we like it; that allow us to talk dirty; that allow us to vocalize our arousal; that allow us to laugh or tease our way to deeper intimacy.

 

The fact that the mouth offers all those wonderful, life-giving, life enhancing things, AND can kiss, makes it one of my very favourite parts of the body

 

“If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:

My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.”

Romeo and Juliet Act 1 Scene 5

William Shakespeare

 

Reading to Each Other

While I was in Oregon at my sisters on holiday, I rediscovered the joy of reading to
each other. I’ve been recommending Naomi Novik’sfantastic alternate history, Temeraireseries, to her for ages. It’s my favorite series of all time. While I was there and we were fighting the hundred degree plus heat and trying to stay cool, she downloaded the first novel, and one evening while sitting on her deck catching what little breeze there was, I asked her if she’d like me to read to her, knowing that if I could only read a little bit, she’d be totally hooked. To my surprised she said, “oh, I love to be read to.” That was all it took. I was off.

 

I LOVE the Temeraire series with a passion, and I never miss a chance to recommend it. Confession of a fan girl here: I’ve read the entire nine book three times and am reading them again. But I’ve never read any of them out loud before. Wow! Have I been missing out! First let me say that the series is set during the Napoleonic War, and the main character of the novels is a dragon. If that doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will.

 

Secondly, you all know I love to do readings from my novels for an audience, and a huge part of the fun is making whatever I read, even if it’s only five minutes worth, almost like a small radio play. You see, like all writers, I want people to love my novels and the stories I tell as much as I do. I want my characters to be as alive to them as they are to me. I want them to be as much gripped by the plot as I was when I wrote it. I discovered, as I sat on the deck breathing in the lovely high desert air, that I absolutely loved being able to bring Temeraire and Lawrence to life for my sister’s entertainment. And, as I totally expected, she was gripped.

 

For the next week, we giggled about sneaking some quality time with the dragon. When we weren’t reading, we often discussed the plot as it unfolded and I gave her little teasers about what was to come. Our afternoon coffee time quickly became afternoon reading time, and I discovered I was just as enthralled with the novel as I had been when I first read it. If anything, knowing what was coming, as I did, only excited me more – especially when I couldn’t wait to see my sister’s response to the plot as it unfolded. By day three, she got bold enough to take her turn at reading to me. We were halfway through the second novel before I left.

 

The pleasure of reading out loud to each other shouldn’t come as any real surprise to me. My husband and I used to do it all the time when we were first married. We just got out of the habit. We’ll have to change that for sure. Even more than that, I never send anything off to a publisher that hasn’t been read out loud repeatedly. I always know a passage is right when I enjoy reading it out loud.

 

For centuries people who could read read out loud. Up until the 17thcentury, reading was not the introverted occupation it is since reading silently has become the norm. While I’m the first to say I could curl up with a good book and never leave my cave, I’m also the first to say that I have loved being read to since I was a child. The art of reading to others came much later for me when I began doing readings from my books for an audience. You see, even I can be social when I have to.

 

What I had forgotten that I knew as a child and that I knew when Raymond and I read to each other, is how delightful reading to each other on a more intimate scale is. I’ve been home for two weeks now, and my sister and I are still emailing about missing our time together with the dragon. It does make me wonder how much of the meat of the story, the true life of the story, we miss by reading silently, by not sharing
a story with someone else. Plus, I have to say, it was a total delight to take on the
character of the dragon and of the people and other dragons who were a part of his story. I felt transported in a very different way than I do when I read silently. A part of that, I’m sure, was seeing the novel fresh through my sister’s eyes. Through her enjoyment, I got to enjoy the story twice-over.

 

Hubby is enthusiastic about adding reading to each other back into our free time. In fact, he’s enthusiastic enough to suggest we tackle Roger Zelazny’sentire Chronicles of Amber. I’m up for the challenge.

 

Out Now—Mia’s Choice (The Heiress’s Harem Book Three) by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #reverseharem #whychoose

Blurb:

But what happens after the wedding?

The last few months of Mia Harrington’s life have been tumultuous, to say the least. Losing her father, the bombshell in his will, followed by her multiple whirlwind romances and subsequent marriage—it’s little wonder she’s so thrilled to be spending three weeks in a tropical paradise with her four men. Rest, relaxation and a hefty dose of fun is precisely what they all need.

But the unconventional honeymoon isn’t all sea, sun, sand, and scorching sex. Back home in England, they have careers, responsibilities, other things that take up their time. Being in each other’s pockets on a tiny island is a challenge—but is it one they can rise to? Will this make or break their relationships? And when being away from it all gives them time to think, what impact will that have on the decisions they make about their futures?

Buy now (or read in Kindle Unlimited):
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07BZPF7LF/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BZPF7LF/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07BZPF7LF/
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07BZPF7LF/

*****

Excerpt:

Mia Harrington sighed contentedly and tipped her head back to allow the sun’s rays to bathe her face. Her blonde hair swished gently behind her in the sea breeze. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been so thoroughly relaxed. Sitting on the wooden deck of her bungalow with her bare feet dangling over the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean was exactly what the doctor ordered.

She snorted. Her surgeon boyfriend, Alex Cartwright, hadn’t even organised this trip, though she was sure he’d had some input. No, this supremely unconventional yet utterly perfect honeymoon was all the doing of her brand-new husband, Elias. It wasn’t the location that was unconventional—honeymooners probably flocked to these secluded islands in their droves to celebrate their nuptials. No, it was the fact Mia and her husband had three tagalongs—Alex, Thomas Walker, and Arjun Chaudary—each of whom she was in a romantic relationship with. And everyone involved was perfectly okay with it.

Elias had even had the foresight to book five separate over-water bungalows—money was no object for her investment banker husband, after all—giving each of them the opportunity for their own space. Yes, the picturesque thatched huts were all in a row with a wooden walkway connecting them, but if any of the group wanted some alone time, they could easily get it. Essential, really, when five adults were living in each other’s pockets for three weeks on a tiny island, no matter how stunningly beautiful it was.

They’d been on honeymoon for three days, and so far, it was working out well. Being together—or at least within shouting distance of one another—twenty-four seven was a little weird, and not even close to how things would be when they got back to England, but Mia figured it would be a good test of the strength of their relationships. If there were any cracks, they would definitely be showing by the end of the trip. But if they all got along, then it was a good sign for their quirky future as a fivesome.

Quirky hardly covered it, if Mia was honest with herself. Her life had been nuts since the death of her father almost eight months previously. As an only child, and with her mother already dead, Mia stood to inherit her father’s estate—which included her beloved childhood home, a considerable fortune, the land and wider estate on which the house stood, and more besides.

But, to her shock and dismay, her father had put a caveat in his will, requiring Mia to marry what he deemed to be a suitable husband in order to inherit. A husband who would be willing to not only take her last name, ensuring any offspring they had would continue the Harrington line, but to sign a prenuptial agreement stating that he wouldn’t get a penny if they divorced.

Mia didn’t care about the money, but she did care deeply about her home, and the estate, which provided jobs for so many in the area—herself included. Added to that, if she didn’t marry, her worthless, money-grabbing cousin, Quinn, would get his hands on everything. Knowing perfectly well he wouldn’t give the house, the tenants, or the employees a second thought, Mia had resolved to find herself a husband—no matter how unimpressed she was about the idea. It was the only way to keep her home, protect the livelihoods of the estate workers, and prevent Quinn from squandering it all away.

It had all happened a great deal faster than she’d been expecting, however, and with a bunch more variables thrown in. Which was how she’d ended up on honeymoon with her new husband and three other men—all of whom she adored, and who adored her right back.

It was truly idyllic. Not just the location, but the situation. The company. She was with her four gorgeous guys on a private island with no prying eyes, no one to see or care what they were up to. The members of staff who kept things clean and tidy for them and provided their food packages were incredibly efficient and discreet, so she wasn’t worried about them gossiping. It was more than their jobs were worth, after all, and in this part of the world she imagined jobs were few and far between. Although part of her felt guilty they were having such a lazy, luxurious time while the locals worked so hard and probably earned very little for their efforts, another part of her was glad they were injecting money into the area. It likely relied on tourism to keep things going.

Mia and her men had surrendered their phones and tablets on arrival, and the resultant lack of contact with the outside world meant none of their jobs or other responsibilities would encroach on their time in this island paradise—though they could be contacted in an absolute emergency. Even better, there were no interruptions, diary clashes, or physical distances between them. They could be themselves, spend quality time together, relax, have fun, and do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted to.

Up until now, they hadn’t done very much at all since they were getting over the long journey and the time zone change. Alex seemed to have recovered quickest—probably since he was used to working different shifts and insane hours at the hospital back home. He’d grown used to snatching hours or even minutes of sleep as and when he could. For Mia, Thomas, Elias, and Arjun, who all worked more regular hours, it had taken longer, but everyone finally seemed to be back on an even keel.

The deck creaked: someone was coming. Mia didn’t turn; the staff had disappeared after clearing away their breakfast things, so it could only be one of her men, and she honestly didn’t mind which. Half the fun of having them all in the same place at the same time was not knowing what was going to happen next, or with whom. Her new life was unpredictable, but in a safe way, a status quo which suited Mia’s personality perfectly—she liked adventure and excitement, but not too much. If controlled chaos was a thing, that was what she was aiming for.

A moment later she sensed a person right behind her, felt their body heat, and then gentle hands covered her eyes. A whiff of cologne reached her nostrils, telling her exactly who it was, but she kept quiet—she didn’t want to ruin the game.

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller), The Persecution of the Wolves, Hiding in Plain Sight and The Heiress’s Harem series. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 170 publications to her name. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Join her Facebook group for exclusive cover reveals, sneak peeks and more! Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. Subscribe to her newsletter here: http://www.subscribepage.com/lfnewsletter

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

 

In the Realm of Gods, Monsters and Billionaires

From the Archives

Aaaand, here we are on the billionaire ride at the fun fair again! You know, it’s a bit
like your favourite roller coaster. You know there are other rides, but this is the one you do over and over again. I always take that ride with binoculars and microscope in hand, because there’s way more going on in tales of power and wealth and control than … well … power and wealth and control. The thing is, while some of us may be sick to death of the 50SoG saga and others may be elated by still more Grey Lookalikes, the fact is, not only are billionaires here to stay, but billionaires have been with us in their more archetypal forms since the time of telling stories in the cave around the fire.

 

I know! I know! Here I go again. But the truth of the matter is that power and control, in all their guises have a facet of raw, primal lust, and few things are more darkly and secretly fascinating than the idea of being forced to give up control and finding that we like it. Being possessed, being under someone else’s thrall, being taken to the realms of ecstasy, whether it’s on Mount Olympus, in Dracula’s dungeon lair or in a penthouse apartment, is a part of that dark fantasy that makes up not only the mythological seductions, but every vampire story, ever monster story, and yes … every billionaire romance.

 

Why is that? What makes that dark fantasy such a powerful one. Well, I have a theory, and I’ve been playing with that dark fantasy from the writing of the first Lakeland Witches novel. Certainly, Medusa and her Consortium keep me coming back again and again for more of that dark fantasy. I think that no matter how appalled we are, no matter how stubborn and independent we are, we want to know what it’s like to be with and to be taken by a force so much greater than us. What’s it like to be bitten and seduced by a vampire? What’s it like to make love to a monster?  What’s it like to be seduced by a god? What’s it like to be the object of lust for a billionaire? And ultimately what price are we willing to pay for entrance into Club Billionaire, Club Olympus, Club Undead? It’s more than lust. It’s more than love. In fact it’s all a little mercenary really. We want, we long for, a chance to take into ourselves all that we’re not. We want to know their secrets. We want those divine, powerful, filthy rich, forbidden lovers to reveal to us their inner workings just as much as they want to possess us. The ultimate question then becomes can we pay the price and survive to tell the tale ? Can we achieve our HEA and find some sense of balance in a world to which we are the interloper?  Oooh! It’s always so much fun to find out.

 

Concerto Chapter 11

 

Chapter 11 Making sense of it

 

“Are you sure you’re well enough to be here,” Mrs. McLaren said, watching me nervously as I stepped out of her battered Land Rover.

 

“Fine, I’m fine,” I lied. I’d been out of the hospital two days and had convalesced impatiently in a hotel room until, ready or not, I could stand it no longer and called Mrs. McLaren, who had promised to take me out to the cottages as soon as I was up to it. I had driven to Portree and endured another night and day in a hotel room in the pounding rain until the weather cleared enough that Mrs. McLaren would even consider taking me out. As it turned out, it was just as well. The trip up from Glasgow had exhausted me, and I wasn’t fit to do much but sleep and order in when I was hungry enough to eat anything. Every time I slept, I hoped that I would wake up back in the cottage with my piano player. But I didn’t. He didn’t even haunt my dreams during those nights of exhaustion and sickness.

 

The landlady watched me with a jaundiced eye as I walked slowly, carefully, through the cottage I’d stayed in, remaining close enough that she could catch me if I stumbled. Everything was exactly as I remembered it, but that was no real surprise. “As I said,” she reiterated, when I turned to her expectantly, “this is the only cottage that’s finished.” She didn’t repete the obvious, the obvious that I’d heard a thousand times, that there’d been no one here but me. She knew it would do her no good, and she wasn’t given to wasted words. It was just as well. I knew what I’d seen. I knew that I hadn’t been alone.

 

She opened the back door, and we stepped outside into the anemic sunlight. My first view of the other cottage felt like a gut punch. There was no patio. Instead a small earthmover stood to the side of a rectangular hole filled with muddy rainwater where the patio, no doubt, would be when the builders finished. To the side under heavy plastic stood several stacks of large paving stones.

 

“The place won’t be ready to lease until next summer.” She sounded almost apologetic. Then she gently threaded her arm through mine. I figured it was so she could catch me if I lost my footing. There was no disguising my trembling. Though more than a little of that was from the shock of what greeted me as I looked out at the other cottage.

 

With a bit of careful tugging, she pulled me away from the flooded would-be patio and around to the front door, which was not locked, the reason became obvious with the pounding of hammers and the mumbled curses of workmen coming from inside.

 

As we entered the front door, two men dressed in paint spattered jeans and ratty t-shirts, looked up, then laid down their hammers and nodded their greetings as though I were some strange creature they weren’t sure how to approach. No doubt they knew the tale. The story of the crazy American lady who was found wandering the cliffs in the middle of a storm had surely made its rounds in a place where I figured I was the most entertaining news that had happened in awhile. Mrs. McLaren motioned them to the door, and they left without a word.

 

Where the wood floor had been, there was, instead, bare concrete, and the fireplace had been newly bricked, the trowel and other tools of the trade still on the floor on plastic sheeting. There was no piano. In fact there was nothing but sawhorses and cans of paint with odd bits and pieces of lumber scattered around, along with a several half-empty bottles of water and sports drinks. The kitchen was exactly as I remembered it, unfinished and covered in drop cloths. As if she knew what I’d ask next, she led me to the bathroom. The tub in which I’d made love to my pianist was there, but sitting in the middle of the floor, and the plumbing was only half finished. Without waiting for me to comment, she led me into the master bedroom.

 

It was suddenly hard to breathe, and I saw the room through a haze of tears I blinked hard to control. The big bed sat in the middle of the floor exactly where it had been, but it was battered and weather worn. On top of a bare mattress that didn’t really fit the wooden slats, a sleeping bag and a pillow lay rumpled and tossed. An empty teacup and an open can of Red Bull sat on a backless chair to the side.

 

“Ian, he’s my nephew, he stays here when the weather is nice and he wants to work late, or get an early start,” Mrs. McLaren said. “Mostly though I think he just likes the place what with the sea and the cliffs.”

 

“The bed?” I managed, feeling like my throat was closing off.

 

“It was here when we bought the place,” she said. “No sense in having it restored until the cottage is a little closer to finished. Ian likes to sleep there.” She smiled indulgently. “Makes him feel a bit like a laird.”

 

There was little left to say after that. Mrs. McLaren walked me up to the cliffs where I’d been found, not far from the standing chimney and the ruined foundations of the manor house, all the while, in my head, flashes of the house in its glory days and broken strains of piano music made me dizzy and even more unsure on my feet. When I dropped down onto a rock near where Mrs. McLaren said I’d been found, she only stood next to me patting my shoulder, until the younger of the two men, the one I assumed was Ian, joined us. “Ms. Alan,” he said quietly. “You’d best go back to the cottage now, have some tea, get warm.”

 

I didn’t protest as he helped me up and the two flanked me, Ian close enough that if I should stumble he could catch me, even carry me if he had to. And to my embarrassment, he had to. We were nearly back to the cottage when a view of the earthmover and the whole where the patio should be made the ache in my chest bloom until it felt like the icy blasts of the storm that had raged all the while I’d stayed her with my pianist. “He asked me to find him and I don’t even know his name,” I whispered, and then the ground tilted around me and strong arms lifted me. I humiliated myself further by burying my face in Ian’s chest and sobbing all the way back to the cottage. Inside, he settled me on the sofa and covered me with a blanket. He sat with me until Mrs. McLaren returned with a cup of tea, which tasted like it might have had a nip of something stronger in it. “This’ll warm your belly and make you feel better,” she said.

 

When she was sure I wasn’t going to humiliate myself further, she motioned Ian into the kitchen, where I could hear them mumbling quietly. Occasionally their voices rose in what sounded like an argument, but it took me a minute to realize they were speaking Gaelic. Not that I cared that much. My own thoughts were too confused trying to sort reality from fantasy. But in spite of everything that I had seen, everything that was obvious, I was still certain that what I’d experienced with my pianist had been real.

 

In a few minutes, they returned to the living room and Mrs. McLaren sat down on the sofa next to me. “You’ve got no business traveling alone,” she said, “not in your condition. You shouldn’t even be out of bed yet. You’ve had a terrible shock. I’ve got guests coming and I can’t get away, but Ian will take you back to Portree and then on to Glasgow and help you arrange a flight home if you need.”

 

“I’m fine,” I said, setting the teacup aside and pushing to my feet.

 

“You shouldn’t be alone.” Ian gently took my arm with a rough hand and guided me back down. “If you don’t feel comfortable with me, I can get my sister, Mary to take you.” At this suggestion, I couldn’t help noticing that Mrs. McLaren stiffened.

 

“No.” I sighed half in defeat, half in relief not to have to make the trip by myself, one I wasn’t sure I could manage. “I’m all right with you taking me.”

 

Twenty minutes later, Mrs. L had me bundled up in Ian’s Land Rover like an invalid with a flask of tea and a basket of sandwiches. It was only after I was settled in that she handed me the coffee table book on the manor house and its history. “Maybe this will help,” she said, then waved us off.

 

If you’ve missed an episode of Concerto, here are the links.

 

Concerto Part 1: A little Night Music

Concerto Part 2: Distractions

Concerto Part 3: Too Much to Bear Alone

Concerto Part 4: Writing and Waiting

Concerto Part 5: A Duet in a Storm

Concerto Part 6: Remember How it Feels

Concerto Part 7: Unsettled

Concerto Part 8: Into the Storm

Concerto Part 9: Me, But Somebody Else

Concerto Part 10: Find Me

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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