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What’s in a Name? Sommer Marsden is Foiled Again with Restricted Release

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!

Restricted ReleaseI 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.

Hmph.

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.

XOXO

Sommer

Blurb:

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.

No chance.

“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.

“Really?”

“I…”

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.

Restricted Release Available from:
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Amazon US
All Romance eBooks
Ellora’s Cave

*****

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

 

Mean Girls by Lucy Felthouse

Mean GirlsAdele Blackthorne is a big girl, a curvy chick. She knows it, and she’s been picked on all her life because of it. But she’s gotten to the stage where she doesn’t care. She may be Rubenesque, but she’s healthy, too. Much healthier than the mean girls at the leisure center that point and stare and say spiteful things about her. Adele rises above it all, and simply enjoys her secretive glances at the center’s hunky lifeguard, Oliver.

As the bullying of Adele becomes worse, Oliver finds it increasingly difficult not to intervene. He doesn’t want to get into trouble with work, but equally he can’t stand to see Adele treated in such a horrible way. Especially since he doesn’t agree that she’s fat and unattractive. He thinks she’s a seriously sexy woman, and would like to get to know her better. Much better.

Buy links: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/mean-girls/

*****

Excerpt:

As usual, Adele Blackthorne felt the weight of gazes on her as she walked from the changing room to the steps to get into the swimming pool. She was used to it by now, and had learned not to react, to just carry on as though she hadn’t noticed people staring and not-so-subtly pointing at her.

With a polite nod to Oliver, the lifeguard, as she passed him, Adele was grateful for his much more favorable reaction. If he thought she resembled a beached whale, he hid it much better than everyone else did. The warmth in his eyes as he nodded back even looked genuine. But she had no illusions, he probably slagged her off the moment he got into the staffroom, or home, talking about the fat woman who went swimming three times a week without fail. But for now, she’d pretend he didn’t. Pretend he thought she was sexy, and wanted to get lost in her abundant curves. God knows she’d like him to.

It was true, she was a big girl and she was most definitely aware of it. Ever since she’d gotten to the age where her excess weight could no longer be called puppy fat, she’d tried to do something about it. Every diet under the sun, ridiculous amounts of exercise… nothing worked. Adele had grown so depressed in her teens that she’d become bulimic. Naturally, she’d lost some weight that way, but she’d also made herself so ill that she’d had to be hospitalized. It had terrified the life out of her, and ever since, she’d resolved that she’d much rather be healthy than skinny.

Which was why she visited her local leisure center three times a week. She used the gym and sauna, and went swimming. And every single time she went, she’d catch someone gawping at her. But because of the years she’d spent—especially at school—being called all the names under the sun, she’d developed an incredibly thick skin. She was happy and healthy—so healthy in fact that she could probably beat all of those skinny bitches at a swimming race. Of course she never offered, never called anyone out on their rudeness and ignorance, but it made her feel better to know that she was fitter and much more polite than them.

Slipping into the fast lane, she settled her goggles carefully into position—she hated getting water in her eyes—then lifted her legs to rest the bottoms of her feet against the end of the pool. Looking at the clock on the wall that counted seconds, she waited until the hand reached the top, then pushed off from the side and launched herself into the lane. It was quiet, so she had this section of the pool to herself. Her arms cut through the water, her legs flapped wildly and she did ten laps without losing any speed. Emerging from the water, she checked the clock again and was pleased to note she’d beaten her previous time.

She was just about to start another ten laps, when she heard voices from the other side of the pool. Voices that clearly forgot how well they carried on water. It was as though they were right next to her.

“God, I’m surprised all the water doesn’t jump out of the pool when she gets in. And the way she swims—she’ll cause a tidal wave one of these days.”

The spiteful words were followed by a trio of sniggers, and Adele gritted her teeth. Part of her wished that she could create a bloody tidal wave, so it would sweep those bitches under water and drown them. The other part of her tsked at the thought. Ideas like that made her just as bad as them, just as unpleasant, just as cowardly.

Because they were cowardly—the way they spoke about her behind her back proved that. If they ever passed her somewhere in the leisure center or its car park, they never said anything, not one word. They’d just scurry away as fast as they could, then titter when they thought she was out of earshot. She hoped that just one time, someone would say something to her face, so she could retaliate, speak up for herself. There was no way she’d start anything—she didn’t want to add confrontational to the list of faults that the mean girls had obviously compiled about her.

Sucking in a deep breath, Adele launched into another ten laps, allowing the chilly water and the exertion of powering through it to burn away her irritation. Because that’s all it was—irritation. She wasn’t angry. Anger was too powerful an emotion, and one that was totally wasted on those ignorant women. She almost felt sorry for them, actually. If they had nothing better to do than to stare at her and slag her off all the time, then they clearly had very dull lives.

The thought cheered her considerably and when she completed her twentieth lap, she lay her forearms on the edge of the pool and hoiked herself up. Her back was pressed against the side, and from here she had a perfect view of the rest of the pool. Tugging her goggles down so they hung around her neck, she had a damn good look at everyone else. The small children and their guardians in the kids’ pool right at the other end of the enormous hall, the old people who swum so slowly as they chatted that she was surprised they stayed afloat, the relentless movement of the man in the medium-speed lane and, of course, the mean girls who were in the same sort of position she was, but at the side of the pool rather than the end. The side which faced the lifeguard station.

Adele narrowed her eyes and watched them—the two waif-like blondes and a brunette—as they chatted and giggled, and it seemed for a change, not about her. They’d clearly changed the subject since their previous spouting of vitriol. Their focus was very firmly on Oliver as he sat on his lofty perch, surveying the pools before him, ready to jump in should anyone get into trouble. She often toyed with the idea of faking a problem, just to get him into the pool and his strong arms around her. However, she knew that although he’d undoubtedly do his duty and help her, he’d never believe such a strong swimmer would need his assistance. Then he’d lose all respect for her, and probably stop hiding his disdain for her so effectively. And the polite nods and smiles she got from him were the only thing—aside from the center’s top-notch facilities—that made the place bearable. She was sure that if the three witches—a nickname she’d secretly come up with for the women—had their way, there would be a sign on the main doors to the building saying ‘No Fat People Allowed.’

*****

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012, 2013 and 2014 and Best Women’s Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

 

Design and Scandal by Annabeth Leong

Design and ScandalBlurb:

Costume designer Kahala Lin didn’t get into her line of work to make clothes for tiny models. She dreams of creating high-fashion masterpieces for BBWs such as herself. When she’s hired to work on costumes for the science fiction movie Laser Sentinel, she passes up the opportunity to dress the film’s heroine and ends up with the hardest job on set—pleasing the demanding and devastatingly handsome star, James Corwin.

James is one of Hollywood’s best known actors, but he’s in trouble when he’s forced into working on this dud of a movie. James can’t relax and enjoy the shoot on Hawaii’s black sand beaches. He needs to prevent this film from becoming an embarrassment, starting with making sure he’s not shot wearing nothing but spandex, a headdress and a ray gun. His collaboration with the new costume designer starts out promising, but soon he’s so busy taking off her clothes that he’s hardly thinking about what he’ll wear at all.

The press, however, discovers their relationship almost before it begins, and the resulting scandal threatens both their livelihoods and James’ chances with Kahala.

A Romantica® contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

 

Excerpt:

“Is James Corwin as hot in real life as he is onscreen?” Kahala Lin winced a little at the question, but couldn’t help herself. Apparently going to work on the set of an honest-to-God big budget film excited her more than she’d let on when Lani had first asked if she wanted the job.

Her friend Lani grinned, revealing a bit of the fangirl herself. “Hotter. I don’t think the camera captures exactly how beautiful his eyes are.”

Lani pulled her truck into the makeshift parking lot on the edge of the set, just out of sight of the black sand beach where the first two weeks of filming would take place. Kahala figured she’d better get the silliness out of her system now, so she could act professionally once she actually met her new colleagues and the contingent of movie stars.

Kahala winked. “Eyes. Not exactly the body part I was thinking about.”

Lani slapped her arm. “You are so bad.”

Kahala shrugged. A serious expression spread over Lani’s wide, friendly face. She narrowed her dark eyes and peered at Kahala. “They’re really strict about that, you know. They don’t want you bothering the stars.”

“I’m not going to embarrass you, Lani. Don’t worry.”

Lani rolled her eyes. “Sorry. I know you’re not a teenager. You nervous?”

“Nervous?” She shook her head firmly. “This is a fun job to me. I’m not looking for a career in the movies. Believe me, these aren’t the people I’m really hoping to dress. My designs are for women with meat on their bones, not size negative two like Madison Marin.”

Lani tapped her fingers against the steering wheel. “I hear what you’re saying. I appreciate it. You made me a gorgeous wedding dress, anyway.” She smiled, then paused. “I just don’t think you should dismiss the opportunity. You might make some good connections. The work you do here is going to be seen by millions of people. That has to be worth something, even if your clothes are on a skinnier girl than you’d like.”

Kahala looked out the window. The Big Island was prettier than she remembered, way less developed than Honolulu, where she lived. Here she could actually see glimpses of what the island must have looked like when her ancestors had lived there.

Lani took her hand. “What’s the matter, Kahala? Other than being excited to see James Corwin in person, you’re acting like you don’t want to be here.”

She summoned a smile. Her friend didn’t deserve to feel bad about this. “I’m really glad you set me up with this, Lani. Don’t get me wrong. I need seed money to get my design business into higher gear. It’s just that I swore I wasn’t ever going to make clothes for tiny girls.” She closed her eyes, remembering how she’d felt when she’d gone shopping back in high school, looking for knockoff versions of styles she’d seen in Vogue and W. “They didn’t even bother to make sizes larger than twelve for most of the clothes I wanted to wear when I was younger. When I started making my own stuff, I promised myself I wouldn’t make anything smaller than twelve. I want the skinny girls to wish they were bigger so they could wear my stuff.”

“This doesn’t take away from that,” Lani said. “Don’t worry about Madison Marin. You might not even end up working on stuff for her.” Lani lifted her shoulders and spread her hands wide. “You ready to do this, girl? For the next three months, we’re going to drink, breathe and eat this place. I hope you like coffee, because your next full night’s sleep won’t be until August.”

Kahala grinned. “You love this work.”

Lani smiled back. “Craft services is rewarding. Everyone’s so hungry and tired, they love everything we do. Believe me, I never felt so appreciated working in a restaurant kitchen.” She slapped the top of Kahala’s thigh. “Let’s go. This’ll be fun.”

***

Lani dropped Kahala off with Lawrence Marsh, head of costumes. His office was a trailer nestled under a stand of papaya trees. Whip-thin and more than six feet tall, the man’s pale skin shone bright and startling against the lush, tropical background. Kahala hadn’t known a person could be that color in Hawaii—even the whitest people typically had the grace to turn red. Lawrence wore a woman’s shirt, skinny jeans and more rings than a gypsy fortune teller. He greeted Kahala with a hug but broke it off to grab a papaya off the tree behind her.

Kahala smiled nervously while he produced a small knife from the back pocket of the skinny jeans and sliced the fruit open with surprising expertise. He ate a piece of juicy flesh off the point of the knife. He didn’t wait to finish chewing before speaking with a cultured British accent that, given his behavior, seemed incongruous. “Kahala Lin!” He sounded much more pleased to see her than she’d expected. “Lovely online portfolio. Very fresh.”

She started. “Thank you!” Lani had made it sound as if she’d pulled strings with the union to set Kahala up with this job. She hadn’t thought anyone would have paid attention to her work.

“I wish I had a star worthy of your talents,” Lawrence said, leading the way into his trailer. The inside looked like an exploded dress shop. Pieces of odd fabrics mingled with half-destroyed specimens of the latest designs from Fashion Week. A dressmaker’s form wore nothing but thin gold chains. Scissors and measuring tape tumbled off tables, and Lawrence possessed more sewing machines than one person could reasonably use. Tilted against the trailer’s AC unit, a laptop showed flashes of an odd shape rotating slowly in a computer-assisted design interface. “Don’t mind the mess,” Lawrence said, shrugging. “It’s my creative process. You understand. Pull up a chair.”

Kahala blinked. She couldn’t see a chair to pull up. The only thing around remotely resembling a seat looked about half as wide as she was. She stayed standing. “I’m really glad you liked the portfolio! What were you—”

Lawrence took another bite of papaya. “I loved it. Most designs for plus-sized women try to hide the body. You let the body do the work. You have a very nice eye for accentuating natural features. I can see it in the dress you’re wearing now.”

Was she blushing? “I did make it myself! How did you—”

“You couldn’t have bought a dress with that stitching for under three thousand these days.” He shuddered. “Machines are so much sloppier than most people realize.” He slapped the papaya down and took Kahala’s hand dramatically. She flinched but tried to roll with it. “I’m going to ask you to betray every instinct that makes your work special. Can you do it for me, Kahala?”

She blinked. “What are you talking about?”

“This is science fiction. The clothes need to do the work, not the body beneath them. Madison Marin’s got no body to speak of. You can’t rely on her shape. You have to give her a shape. Designers like bodies like hers because they can give them any shape they desire. I’m asking you to betray your obvious appreciation for the female form and work with the alien specimens we have here on this project—otherwise known as actresses.”

Kahala stared. “You’re assigning me to work with your female lead?”

“I believe in delegating.” Lawrence smiled tightly. “I’d planned to work with her myself, of course. I spent months drawing sketches for her. You’ll be following those, making adjustments as needed to the costumes I’ve started creating. I’d do it myself, gladly, but ever since I arrived on set I’ve had a certain problem that’s—James Corwin.”

“James Corwin?” Kahala echoed, confused. “That’s your problem?”

“Oh, James Corwin is about to be his problem, all right,” said a deep male voice behind her. Kahala jumped, turned, and found herself face to face with the screen idol himself, all six solid feet of him. James Corwin had played football in high school, and Kahala could see why. He had a linebacker’s build and muscle. He gripped the doorframe with big hands. His face wrinkled with distaste at the sight of Lawrence Marsh, but as his gaze settled on Kahala, his expression changed. His famous golden eyes focused on her and she caught the subtle flicks he used to check out her body below the neck. Kahala’s face heated and James smiled slowly, his nostrils flaring. His dark skin seemed much warmer in person than it did onscreen. The red tones in it caught the light so he almost gleamed.

“Hello,” James Corwin said, dragging the word out to two syllables and lifting his eyebrows with appreciation.

“Um, hi.” Kahala was relieved that her voice didn’t squeak.

Lawrence dropped a hand onto her shoulder. “I’m impressed again, Kahala. That’s the first civil word I’ve heard come out of this fellow’s mouth. Even if it reeks a bit of the chauvinist pig.”

James Corwin grinned. A slight gap between his front teeth marred his perfection just enough to make him convincingly real. He didn’t take his eyes off Kahala. “I can be nice if given reason.”

“Well I’m afraid I don’t have DD reasons,” Lawrence shot back.

Kahala bit her tongue before she could add that she wished they were just DD. Bra shopping would have been so much easier if Lawrence had been right about her size.

“Lawrence, that’s crass,” James said. He leaned in toward Kahala, his voice dropping and turning conspiratorial. “Don’t think I’m not a gentleman just because of the way I’m looking at you. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the full package, but I also enjoy learning about a beautiful woman’s personality.”

A thousand red flags went up in Kahala’s mind. This man was trouble. It couldn’t have been clearer if he’d tattooed the word on his forehead in capital letters and accentuated them with glitter. Unfortunately she could be as circumspect about this as she wanted inside the sanctuary of her own thoughts, but that didn’t help to control her glee at the movie star’s compliments. He’d still made her grin like a fool.

James winked, mischief pulling one side of his smile higher than the other. “Well? You didn’t sound shy when you were talking with just Lawrence a minute ago.”

“I’m not,” Kahala admitted. She saw his challenge and raised him. Surveying his body frankly, she allowed herself a wicked grin. “I can’t make a call on your full package yet. I haven’t seen enough of it.”

James liked that response, clearly. He moved even closer. His fingers twitched against the doorframe as if they wanted to move to Kahala’s frame instead.

Lawrence broke into the moment before she could see where it would lead. “Whoo!” He fanned himself and continued with high-pitched sounds of appreciation. “It’s gotten very, very hot in here. Almost as if you two are forgetting the full workday we have in front of us.”

Kahala blushed. She’d gotten so caught up in coming up with cool responses to James Corwin’s flirtation that she’d forgotten to act professionally. “Sorry.” Instinct told her to leave the two of them to their business, but she couldn’t see a graceful exit out of the cramped trailer. Whether she ducked left or right, any attempt to leave would involve an intense negotiation between her body and that of James Corwin. She stepped back instead, then looked to Lawrence for direction.

Lawrence drew himself up even taller, so his Adam’s apple poked prominently out of his long, thin neck. “Before you arrived, Mr. Corwin, I was in the middle of delegating loads of work to Kahala here. She’s going to take over dressing Miss Marin for me, all so I can devote the bulk of my time to satisfying your demanding self.” His words sounded light and irreverent, but Kahala caught a strain of sincere irritation running through them.

Corwin must have picked up on that too, because he scowled in response. “I don’t know if I want any more of your attention, Lawrence. That’s what I came to talk to you about.” He sighed. All the playfulness he’d shown with Kahala had gone out of him. He seemed tired and far less glamorous. “The studio’s leaning on me to be here, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’ll be professional, I’ll do as I’m told, but I won’t tolerate being made to look or behave like a fool.”

 

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Bio:

Annabeth Leong has written erotica of many flavors. She loves shoes, stockings, cooking and excellent bass lines. She always keeps a new e-book loaded on her phone and a paperback stashed in her purse, but her eyes are still bigger than her stomach whenever she visits a bookseller. She blogs at annabethleong.blogspot.com, and tweets @AnnabethLeong . Watch for her next contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave, Heated Leather Lover.

 

Grand Slam (Raw Talent #1) by Lily Harlem and Lucy Felthouse

Grand SlamBlurb:

California had seduced me with promises of a new life working at Los Carlos Tennis Academy. What I didn’t expect was the dark, brooding number one seed, Travis Connolly, resisting my help. He wasn’t interested in my psychology skills. Instead his attention was drawn to the edgy, sharper corners of my desires, proving that they existed, setting me challenges and driving me crazy to the point of combustion.

I’m the best tennis player in the world—officially—so why would I need a damn woman full of psychobabble to get me on form? Despite my irritation, however, I can’t resist pushing Marie Sherratt’s buttons even though doing that shows her the darkest shades of my lust, the parts of me I buried deep. So I set her a challenge, one she rises to, one that has me rising too, and before long my game relies on her calling the shots, hitting the target and bending to my will. One thing was certain, being not just master of the court, but also of Marie is seriously good for my soul.

Available from:

Ellora’s Cave
Amazon UK
Amazon US
All Romance eBooks
Kobobooks.com

Coming Soon to all Other Good eBook Retailers

Add to Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18212109-grand-slam

*****

Excerpt:

I looked into his eyes. Swallowed and tasted his cologne as it traveled into my nostrils and then laced my tongue. “Would you consider them to be good people, Travis? These individuals that like to hurt others.

“I’ve known a few people who like to give and receive higher sensations, and most of them I consider to be good friends as well as good people.”

I hesitated, felt his body heat radiating toward me, wrapping around me as I pondered his words. We were close, very close, and his consuming presence made logical thinking much harder than normal. “I’m not quite sure what you’re telling me.”

“You talk about pain like it’s a bad thing, Marie.”

“It is.”

He smiled but it wasn’t a sweet smile, more like one of a hunter who’d spotted prey.

“Pain is unpleasant for a reason,” I said. “Because it’s bad.”

“I disagree.” He raised his eyebrows and widened his eyes. It was a challenging, cocky gesture.

A tingle snaked its way up my spine and threatened to wreak havoc in my body by turning into a tremble. But I beat it down. I wouldn’t let a patient get to me this way. I was the one supposed to be holding the reins here.

“Maybe, Marie, you should open your mind to new ideas with a little more grace.”

“I fail to see how I haven’t been graceful in discussing your theory that pain is good.”

“Can we keep it that way?”

“I hope so.”

“In that case,” he flicked his attention from my eyes and looked at my hair, “would you like me to demonstrate?”

Damn, the guy made me feel tiny. Even though I was wearing heels, his broad chest and wide shoulders were looming over me. “Okay.”

He twitched the right side of his mouth into a half-smile. Now he looked like a hunter who’d captured his prey. A trickle of fight or flight seeped into my system. Which would be my best option?

“Now that’s the first rule.” He reached up and undid the clasp holding my hair on the top of my head. It tumbled around my shoulders as the clasp fell to the floor. “Consent.”

“Doesn’t consent require knowing what you’re agreeing to?” Fuck, with him this close and stroking my hair, spreading it out, I’d pretty much agree to anything. Who was I kidding? Fight or flight was not an option, the only thing that shot through my mind was giving myself over to him. Allowing him to do whatever he wanted, control my body, feed it what it needed.

Damn, it had been too long since I’d been with a man. It was making me desperate.

He slotted his other hand over the left side of my head, the sound of him sliding his fingers over the shell of my ear noisy. My breath hitched and I locked my knees to stabilize my stance. I stared up at him, noting the small shafts of black hair sneaking out of his skin on his chin and the way his bottom lip was a little plumper than the top.

“You see, some pain,” he said, gathering my hair up at my crown and tugging to create tension on the roots, “can heighten the awareness of everything else going on in the body.”

He pulled harder, forcing my head to tip back.

I gasped as discomfort shot across my scalp.

He increased the pressure a little more.

I reached out and clutched at his shirt, felt his hard chest beneath. “Travis, I—”

“Shh, I’m just showing you.” He slipped his arm around my waist, dragged me close and yanked my hair, really hard.

“Ow, I—” A barrage of sensations blasted through my system. The feel of him pressing up against me, hot hard male, all wide pecs and solid thighs. The pain from having my hair tugged with force, and the awareness that my belly was shoved right up against his groin. A groin that held a wedge of thick flesh.

“Just feel,” he whispered, hovering his lips over mine. “Endorphins are rushing into your bloodstream, giving you a natural high as pain alerts your nerve endings that something exciting is happening.” He slid his free hand up my back, tracing the outline of my spine through my blouse.

I breathed in the air he was breathing out, warm and sweet. The scream of hurt in my scalp made me want to wriggle but being held so firmly and confidently kept me still. The heat of the discomfort slipped down my nape and neck and over my shoulders, then combined with the lovely sensation of him stroking my back.

“Can you feel it?” he whispered. “Pain mixing with pleasure, the lines between the two blurring.”

I could feel it with every fiber of my being. My skin was alive with awareness, my breasts were heavy and desperate for stimulation, and between my legs I was buzzing for action. Good, hard man action, preferably of the naked, sweaty variety. “Yes,” I gasped.

*****

Author Bios:

Lily Harlem

Lily Harlem lives in the UK with Mr Harlem and a host of rescued animals. She is an award winning author of contemporary erotic romance and writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including Ellora’s Cave, HarperCollins, Total-E-Bound, Xcite and Sweetmeats Press as well as self-publishing. Her HOT ICE series regularly receives high praise and industry nominations and sportsmen who are talented both in and out of the bedroom often feature in her novels. But whichever book you choose of Lily’s one thing you can be sure of is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!

 

Website http://www.lilyharlem.com/

Blog http://www.lilyharlem.blogspot.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/lily_harlem

Facebook http://en-gb.facebook.com/people/Lily-Harlem/100003519563064

Facebook author page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lily-Harlem-author-page/200182030094568

Pinterest http://pinterest.com/lilyharlem/

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4070110.Lily_Harlem

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/106837751333678531161/posts

 

Lucy Felthouse

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012, 2013 and 2014 and Best Women’s Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

 

Lucy Felthouse and Lily Harlem Talk Co-Authoring

Lucy FelthouseLucy’s thoughts…

I’ve been published for a few years now, mainly in the short story arena, though I have novellas available and others contracted, as well as a novel coming later in the year. I always keep my eye on what’s out there, what’s coming soon, how people are working, their achievements, and so on. And one thing that’s caught my eye several times has been co-authoring. To me, it looked like a brilliant way to work on a project with someone, have fun and then end up with a piece of work at the end of it. But I admit I didn’t really understand how it worked, so it just bubbled away in the back of my mind, and I didn’t do anything about it.

However, towards the back end of 2012, my good friend and fellow writer Lily Harlem suggested co-authoring something together. I explained I had a few projects on, so I couldn’t start right away, but I would definitely be interested. She was busy too, so we said we’d start in the early part of 2013, when all the Christmas and New Year festivities were over and done with, and life was back to normal.

The writing bug bit Lily, however, and in December she sent me a chapter that had just come to her, so she’d written it down. I managed to read it quickly, but knew I still wouldn’t be able to do anything with it until January. I was eager to try out co-authoring, but other commitments had to take priority.

Then 2013 arrived. I’d cleared my commitments and was free to start something new – hurrah! I read the chapter again and then bombarded Lily with a million and one questions about the process of co-authoring, how she thought it would work, our intended publisher, and so on. I was very lucky in that a) Lily had co-authored many times before so knew how it worked b) she was very, very patient with me and answered all my questions c) that our writing styles are quite similar, so that although we wrote from separate character viewpoints, our respective sections would still fit together well and d) we know each other well enough to give constructive and honest feedback that will be truly helpful, rather than trying to sugar coat anything for the sake of being nice.

And so we began. The chapter Lily had written back in December was from the female perspective and I was happy to write from the male perspective. I’ve done it many times before and enjoy it very much. We’d already agreed that if things didn’t work out, we wouldn’t worry too much about it, so I opened the document and began to write without thinking too hard. We had no plan, no idea what on earth the book was going to be about, really, just that it would be an erotic romance. Despite this, the words came. Fast.

After writing a chapter of roughly the same length as Lily’s, I skim read it and sent it back to her. And thus the mad email exchange began. Prior to this project I’d only written one full-length novel by myself and found it a learning curve, albeit it a fun and very satisfying project, but often I had to force myself to carry on and not procrastinate. With this book, however, it was totally different. It was full of surprises – because we hadn’t planned it, the chapters we sent back to one another were a total surprise, and we both had to think on our feet to work out where the plot would go next. We’d agreed not to rush one another for chapters as we both had other things on, too, and although we didn’t pressure one another, we still produced the words at lightning speed (for me, anyway!). I grew eager to read Lily’s next chapter, to see where the characters – which I’d quickly grown very fond of – would go next, what they would do. There was very, very little procrastination! None, really. Just lots of use of Google Street View.

The only thing we’d really planned was that the book would be longer than 50,000 words – to make it novel length. We did discuss how it would end, but never made a set decision, we just decided to keep writing and hope it came to a natural conclusion. We agreed that because Lily had written the first chapter, that I would write the last. That was the only time throughout the project that I felt pressure – and it was from myself, not my co-author. I had to write the last chapter, therefore the ending, therefore it had to be good, and satisfying! I put my fingers to the keys of my laptop and hoped that what came out would be good. When I finished the final chapter I read it again and made tweaks, then decided that no benefit would come of me staring at it – so I sent it to Lily. And waited with baited breath for her reply.

She loved it!! She even said that it made her cry. Naturally, I was incredibly relieved that she liked it – and the fact it made her cry was a huge bonus. Poor Lily was suffering with a bad cold at the time so she wasn’t feeling her best, but I decided to take the compliment anyway. And voilà – our novel, which had been through what felt like a bazillion title changes throughout the writing process, was finished. We smashed our 50k minimum and ended up with 70,000 words, roughly. In five weeks (with me even doing two chapters in one day – one in the morning, then one in the late afternoon as Lily sent hers back in the early afternoon) we penned a novel that we were both absolutely delighted with, and characters we adored.

Next, we made ourselves leave it alone for a while. We both agreed that jumping in with edits and polishing too soon wouldn’t help. We’d made comments on each other’s chapters as we went along, asking for clarification of certain points or even just saying parts had made us “LOL” and that helped immensely. So much so that after our waiting period, we didn’t change very much at all.

Then came the discussion on submission. We’d had a publisher in mind all along – Ellora’s Cave – and we submitted to them. Thankfully, they said yes. Cue much happy dancing from Lily and I! As we waited for news, we had a bit of a debrief and agreed we’d both loved the process and were amazed at how quickly the book had come together – and even discussed making it into a series. Now that series is in progress, and even has its own website: http://rawtalentseries.co.uk. The first book, Grand Slam, just released – cue lots of nerves from the two of us –but thankfully, we’ve already had some excellent feedback. So our baby is out in the world and people are enjoying it – what could be better?

I totally adored the process of co-authoring with Lily. It was genuinely fun and we just seemed to work really well – and quickly – together.

So if you’ve been thinking about co-authoring, I would say go for it. If you know someone that you can work well with, and you will be honest with one another and complement one another, then it’s a great way to write a book. You’ll have to ask lots of questions to make sure you’re both on the right wavelength, but it’s worth it in the end.

 

Lily HarlemLily’s thoughts…

Well, I think Lucy summed our co-author experience beautifully, Grand Slam was borne from a ‘yeah, lets give it a go’ comment one evening on London’s South Bank over a glass of wine and a gourmet burger, and is now a fully fledged novel that we are both so proud of. Thank goodness we took the plunge!

As Lucy said, that first chapter did just come to me. I’d been watching tennis on Sky Sports, some hunky player whose name I don’t recall, all in white and darting around the court with skill and grace. And it had me wondering, as I often do about athletes, that if he was that focused, so utterly in control in his chosen sport during the day, what was he like at night, in the bedroom? Mmm, you see how my naughty mind works now, don’t you?

I also liked the contrast of his pristine whites and his tanned skin and brooding expression. This got me wondering what other layers he had? Were his desires dark? Did his passion also go to the physical extremes he clearly put his body through during a match? And was his determination to find satisfaction as unstoppable when he was with a woman as when he was facing an opponent?

That is how Travis Connolly was created, though because I wrote the first chapter I didn’t actually get very far into his head. As it turned out Lucy wrote Travis – and because of her A Taste of… Series, a male viewpoint is something she is exceptional at – and I wrote Marie. Oh, la, la, now I think I got seriously lucky there, because every time Lucy sent a chapter back my heart flipped. I just needed to read it. I was desperate to know what big, bad Travis had done next to me… I mean… Marie! LOL, you see that is the beauty of co-authoring, as long as you’re easy going, writing with someone with a similar style, then it is just a whole heap of fun. Marie and Travis were in our heads, bouncing off of each other, their voices loud and clear. The sex scenes were steaming up our laptops and having them from the both characters point of view made them very intimate.

The next book in the series is currently our work in progress, and readers of Grand Slam will already know the two main characters – cryptic, I know! Co-authoring is incredible, I guess it helps if one person has done it before and ‘gets it’. My first attempt was with Natalie Dae, and she was wonderfully patient with me, and encouraging, she certainly taught me a lot too. Sharing writing experiences, the highs and lows, makes it a less lonely profession for sure, and like many things in life, the more I learn about it, the more I realise I don’t know, which is where an easy going attitude is worth its weight in gold if you want to be a co-author. So give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen…?

*****

We’re on tour right now with Grand Slam, so if you want to learn more about the book, feel free to follow: http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/lucy-felthouse-and-lily-harlem/

*****

Excerpt:

“Some people like pain,” he said, still not looking at me.

“Masochists you mean?”

“Yes, I suppose.”

Shit, was he trying to tell me that he enjoyed the pain the accident had left him with? If so, we really needed to discuss this. “That’s not the majority of people though.”

“No, but more than you think. And some people like administering pain.” He turned to me, cocked his head slightly and moved into the space I’d left between us.

I looked into his eyes. Swallowed and tasted his cologne as it traveled into my nostrils and then laced my tongue. “Would you consider them to be good people, Travis? These individuals that like to hurt others.”

“I’ve known a few people who like to give and receive higher sensations, and most of them I consider to be good friends as well as good people.”

I hesitated, felt his body heat radiating toward me, wrapping around me as I pondered his words. We were close, very close, and his consuming presence made logical thinking much harder than normal. “I’m not quite sure what you’re telling me.”

“You talk about pain like it’s a bad thing, Marie.”

“It is.”

He smiled but it wasn’t a sweet smile, more like one of a hunter who’d spotted prey.

“Pain is unpleasant for a reason,” I said. “Because it’s bad.”

“I disagree.” He raised his eyebrows and widened his eyes. It was a challenging, cocky gesture.

A tingle snaked its way up my spine and threatened to wreak havoc in my body by turning into a tremble. But I beat it down. I wouldn’t let a patient get to me this way. I was the one supposed to be holding the reins here.

“Maybe, Marie, you should open your mind to new ideas with a little more grace.”

“I fail to see how I haven’t been graceful in discussing your theory that pain is good.”

“Can we keep it that way?”

“I hope so.”

“In that case,” he flicked his attention from my eyes and looked at my hair, “would you like me to demonstrate?”

Damn, the guy made me feel tiny. Even though I was wearing heels, his broad chest and wide shoulders were looming over me. “Okay.”

He twitched the right side of his mouth into a half-smile. Now he looked like a hunter who’d captured his prey. A trickle of fight or flight seeped into my system. Which would be my best option?

“Now that’s the first rule.” He reached up and undid the clasp holding my hair on the top of my head. It tumbled around my shoulders as the clasp fell to the floor.

“Consent.”

“Doesn’t consent require knowing what you’re agreeing to?” Fuck, with him this close and stroking my hair, spreading it out, I’d pretty much agree to anything. Who was I kidding? Fight or flight was not an option, the only thing that shot through my mind was giving myself over to him. Allowing him to do whatever he wanted, control my body, feed it what it needed.

Damn, it had been too long since I’d been with a man. It was making me desperate.

He slotted his other hand over the left side of my head, the sound of him sliding his fingers over the shell of my ear noisy. My breath hitched and I locked my knees to stabilize my stance. I stared up at him, noting the small shafts of black hair sneaking out of his skin on his chin and the way his bottom lip was a little plumper than the top.

“You see, some pain,” he said, gathering my hair up at my crown and tugging to create tension on the roots, “can heighten the awareness of everything else going on in the body.”

He pulled harder, forcing my head to tip back.

I gasped as discomfort shot across my scalp.

He increased the pressure a little more.

I reached out and clutched at his shirt, felt his hard chest beneath. “Travis, I—”

“Shh, I’m just showing you.” He slipped his arm around my waist, dragged me close and yanked my hair, really hard.

“Ow, I—” A barrage of sensations blasted through my system. The feel of him pressing up against me, hot hard male, all wide pecs and solid thighs. The pain from having my hair tugged with force, and the awareness that my belly was shoved right up against his groin. A groin that held a wedge of thick flesh.

“Just feel,” he whispered, hovering his lips over mine. “Endorphins are rushing into your bloodstream, giving you a natural high as pain alerts your nerve endings that something exciting is happening.” He slid his free hand up my back, tracing the outline of my spine through my blouse.

I breathed in the air he was breathing out, warm and sweet. The scream of hurt in my scalp made me want to wriggle but being held so firmly and confidently kept me still. The heat of the discomfort slipped down my nape and neck and over my shoulders, then combined with the lovely sensation of him stroking my back.

“Can you feel it?” he whispered. “Pain mixing with pleasure, the lines between the two blurring.”

I could feel it with every fiber of my being. My skin was alive with awareness, my breasts were heavy and desperate for stimulation, and between my legs I was buzzing for action. Good, hard man action, preferably of the naked, sweaty variety. “Yes,” I gasped.

*****

grandslamBlurb:

California had seduced me with promises of a new life working at Los Carlos Tennis Academy. What I didn’t expect was the dark, brooding number one seed, Travis Connolly, resisting my help. He wasn’t interested in my psychology skills. Instead his attention was drawn to the edgy, sharper corners of my desires, proving that they existed, setting me challenges and driving me crazy to the point of combustion.

I’m the best tennis player in the world—officially—so why would I need a damn woman full of psychobabble to get me on form? Despite my irritation, however, I can’t resist pushing Marie Sherratt’s buttons even though doing that shows her the darkest shades of my lust, the parts of me I buried deep. So I set her a challenge, one she rises to, one that has me rising too, and before long my game relies on her calling the shots, hitting the target and bending to my will. One thing was certain, being not just master of the court, but also of Marie is seriously good for my soul.

Buy links: http://rawtalentseries.co.uk/book-1-grand-slam/

Add to Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18212109-grand-slam

*****

Author Bios:

Lily Harlem

Lily Harlem lives in the UK with Mr Harlem and a host of rescued animals. She is an award winning author of contemporary erotic romance and writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including Ellora’s Cave, HarperCollins, Total-E-Bound, Xcite and Sweetmeats Press as well as self-publishing. Her HOT ICE series regularly receives high praise and industry nominations and sportsmen who are talented both in and out of the bedroom often feature in her novels. But whichever book you choose of Lily’s one thing you can be sure of is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!

Website http://www.lilyharlem.com/
Blog http://www.lilyharlem.blogspot.com/
Twitter https://twitter.com/lily_harlem
Facebook http://en-gb.facebook.com/people/Lily-Harlem/100003519563064
Facebook author page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lily-Harlem-author-page/200182030094568
Pinterest http://pinterest.com/lilyharlem/
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4070110.Lily_Harlem
Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/106837751333678531161/posts

 

Lucy Felthouse

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over seventy publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include Best Bondage Erotica 2012, 2013 and 2014 and Best Women’s Erotica 2013. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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