I’ll be heading out of town tomorrow for a plotting bootcamp in Jackson, Mississippi. I have fun stuff lined up for you while I’m gone and some great guests! And I started today because I have a million things to do before I leave. Take a look at the line-up—then be sure to drop by and play with my guests. On Saturday, I’ll be running a little contest for a free book, so be sure to post for your chance to win! ~DD
Friday: Lacy Danes
Saturday Snippet & contest
Sunday: Katriena Knights
The Accidental Series
By Teresa Noelle Roberts
This week, Phaze released my latest erotic fantasy/paranormal romance, Threshing the Grain: Seasons of Sorania Cycle 3.
Only if you look on my author page at Phaze, you won’t see covers that say Seasons of Sorania Cycle 1 and 2. The books are there, all right. Lady Sun Has Risen is Book 1 of the series and Rain at Midsummer is Book 2. If you read the blurbs, you’ll see the series mentioned. But I didn’t set out with the intention to write a series when I stared Lady Sun Has Risen.
It was supposed to be a one-off, a story written for a particular call that was a homage to Conan the Barbarian and other stories with slightly barbaric alpha heroes and semi-captured heroines. When I ran it by my critique partner, though, she said my world seemed too generic. She knew I’d been reading a lot about Arabic-ruled Spain in the Middle Ages and suggested I incorporate some elements of that rich setting. But that seemed too grounded in a specific monotheistic culture—and it was important to this story that the setting be a pagan one with multiple deities. So I stole some elements from the late Roman Empire and some from pre-Islamic Persia, added a lot of imagination—and being me, a healthy dollop of sex magic—and Sorania was born. In the process, my heroine ended up less ditzy, with real strengths of her own, even if she’s out of her depth, and my hero ended up less barbaric and more complex. Oh, and they both ended up kinky.
(Mind you, I missed the call deadline while doing the rewrites, but I ended up with a far better story.)
It seemed natural to return to this setting and elaborate on it for Rain at Midsummer. I’d mentioned that the mother of the Lady Sun hero was an escaped slave from a neighboring country. Her story deserved telling, and thus Rain at Midsummer was born.
Unfortunately I came up with the series title after I turned in Rain at Midsummer and approved the cover. Oops! Maybe someday they’ll be reissued with new covers.
But once I came up with the series title, it was obvious that the next book would involve the Harvest Festival and that it would be a much darker book. In the ancient world, harvest festivals were a time of rejoicing, but often had elements of mourning for the vegetation god, cut down so humans might live—and in the very ancient world, the sacrifice made in the god’s honor might not have been a barnyard animal, but a young man. Fall pagan holidays also call to mind Samhain, Halloween, Day of the Dead. Threshing the Grain plays on these elements of horror and pits the hero and heroine of Lady Sun has Risen, Adimir and Miryea, against a demonic threat that demands Adimir sacrifice his life in exchange for his people’s safety and prosperity.
Adimir’s a nobleman, and in the remote province where he was raised, that means he has magical bonds enforcing his responsibility to the land and the people who live on it. In his worldview, sacrificing himself to a demon to save others might be his destiny. Miryea is city-raised, the child of a university-educated doctor and studying medicine herself. Although the events in Lady Sun awakened her own magic, she takes the “modern” (roughly 5th century AD) view that the gods let you shape your own fate—and she’s determined to save her husband by any means necessary.
Even means that might undermine the very foundations of their marriage.
Did I mention there are mysterious, sexy satyrs? And kinky sex, of both male-dom and fem-domme varieties? And both blood magic and sex magic?
(The satyrs will be back in the fourth and final book of the series. A Satyr for Midwinter is this pagan world’s version of a Christmas romance, so it’s all about finding light and love at the darkest time of the year and the darkest point in your life. Watch for it later this year.)
But why don’t I stop telling you about Threshing the Grain and give you a taste of it?
[Miryea’s] first vision—and so far their only shared vision—had followed the ritual spanking on the spring equinox.
“Should I…” he asked, and in answer, she shifted so she presented her ass to him.
“Make it hard,” she begged, although she didn’t know if that was the gods offering inspiration or her own instinct wanting the sharp, physical pain to offset the pain in her soul.
And he complied.
He used more force than he usually would, and the first few blows simply hurt. Tears filled her eyes and she bit into the bedclothes to keep from crying out in a way that would panic the servants.
She would endure. She owed it to Adimir.
More than endure, she would enjoy. She must enjoy, because she’d gain no visions if she felt no bliss.
As he continued, the throbbing pain began to transmute to reluctant pleasure, but her mind was distracted and her body wasn’t cooperating and the tears still threatened to come. She bit her lip to keep them back, although she felt like she was cutting off her desire as well.
Pleasure was there, just out of reach, but fear and despair blocked her. She squirmed, struggled, trying to get away from the pain–and, paradoxically, from the ecstasy that threatened to follow it, because what kind of woman would have orgasms when her husband’s life was in jeopardy?
“Let me try something,” Adimir took up her abandoned sash. “Put your hands behind your back,” he said, in a way that brooked no argument, a way that, despite everything, went straight to her clit.
She complied, and shuddered as he wrapped the embroidered red silk around her wrists, binding them together. She could still move, could still squirm away almost as easily as before, but safe in the silken bonds, she lost her will to do so. The simple binding made her his prisoner, removed her choice—
Let her open herself.
Off balance now, unable to hold herself up, she had no choice but to press herself forward, face among the bed-linens, ass in the air.
“Lovely,” he said, and sounded like he meant it.
A few more thwacks and she filled her mouth with wool and linen, trying not to weep, trying not to cry out from the tangled pain and pleasure and love and fear. Adimir pressed his free hand on the back of her neck, and the gentleness and strength behind that touch, the love and the authority, let her break down. Tears flowed as if she’d been holding them back for months rather than days. And as she cried, he stopped spanking her, cupped between her legs. His fingers found her clit, worked their magic as they always did.
It shouldn’t have been enough—enough to give her pleasure, certainly, but not enough to send her into the spirit world. But this time as the world started to shatter into bright shards of ecstasy, Miryea remembered something of her lessons in magic and sent a little of herself between those shards deliberately, for the first time ever.
The room blurred and spun. She closed her eyes and saw the harvest moon and the stars heavy above Thermanae, and felt a cool breeze scented with wild thyme and goat dung and smoke from an olive-wood fire, although it was still warm and humid in Arlind.
And when she opened them again, the harvest moon hung huge and red in the star-studded night sky, staining the harsh beauty of the hills not with blood, but wine. Never mind the full moon was still over a fortnight away, past the time of the Harvest Festival this year, and the hills of Thermanae were a day’s ride, and she was in the satrap’s palace in Arlind with her shutters closed and her face pressed into her bed-linens.
To celebrate the new release in my “accidental series,” I’m giving a copy of Threshing the Grain at my blog. Stop by before January 15 to comment and be entered to win.