For a woman who writes mostly erotic paranormal romance this has been a week of contemporary releases for me, one from MLR Press on DADT and another from Ellora’s Cave. The heroes of my story Afterburner in MLR’s Honorable Silence are strong men, Alphas, daredevils even since both were acrobatic pilots as well as test pilots. The hero of Rock My World from Ellora’s Cave is a strong man as well despite the fact that he’s younger than the heroine. The fact is I pretty much write only strong heroes. They may be flawed and they may stumble, but they are strong and in the end they always do what’s right.
My paranormal world the Five Dark Realms is really several intertwined worlds. Mostly, I’ve confined myself to the biggest of the realms, the Darkworld. My series Tales of the Darkworld is set in this realm, but I do have a few other books and shorts not in the series and all of them are set in the same world. But coming in the next few months, I begin bringing those other four realms to my readers, bit by bit. The first step in that direction is a short, dark tale called In the Light.
In a break from my normal Darkworld publisher, Pink Petal Books, and with that publisher’s permission, In the Light will be in an anthology from Dreamspinner Press featuring works by the friends of author Patric Michael who has cancer. Wishing on a Blue Star is filled with stories inspired by or written for Patric. In the Light has its basis in a conversation I had with Patric about doing what is right. It is neither a romance, nor erotic, but instead is a tale with dark overtones that should make you want to hug your friends.
This short story features my usually upbeat, horny werewolf Weylyn Randall. On a timeline, this story takes place before Weylyn’s appearance in Common Ground, Tales of the Darkworld Book 5 and before his short story The Were & the Chair at Pink Chair Diaries. Weylyn receives a call from friend who asks that Wey join him at a bar called In the Light. The bar is in the Shadoworld, a realm inhabited by Fallen Angels and one of the Five Dark Realms.
Without giving away the story, I will tell you that Weylyn receives a fierce reminder from his friend Grant that strong men always do what is right even when the cost to themselves is high. Their consciences just won’t allow them to turn the other cheek or walk on by. Weylyn and Grant are pretty typical of my heroes in this instance with the notable exception of Vahid Delrey from my EPIC Award finalist Ride the Lightning, Tales of the Darkworld Book 4.
Black dragon Vahid spurns his fated mate Emily for several years causing her much pain. He hooks up with his boss’s sister even. His beginnings are not very noble in this series. But in the end, Vahid mans up and does what’s right and even makes up for his bad behavior. In Sunstroked, Tales of the Darkworld Book 6, the most current Tales release, werewolf Seth Dylan does something very wrong and hurts his lover Corey. It takes him some time, but Seth does apologize and the two men get back together. Seth was bad, but his reasons for doing wrong are understandable while Vahid’s just a butthead.
My Alphas all have a bit of arrogance in them, but they also know how to be humble. Well, they do at some point anyway! They may have to learn some lessons first though. I don’t have any qualms making my heroes grovel a little on the pathway to doing what’s right. I’m going to leave you with a taste of Vahid and Emily in Ride the Lightning, so you can see for yourself that even my asshole heroes do eventually get it right!
Blurb: Red dragon Emily Carrington found her mate in black dragon Vahid Delrey, but misunderstandings, painful secrets, and distrust keep them apart. Emily thinks Vahid doesn’t want her. Vahid thinks Emily is a stuck up snob who could never truly love him. Both dragons hide crippling secrets from their pasts as their pain at being apart escalates. Emily falls for the strong, sexy black dragon and hides her need of him behind an icy facade. Vahid longs for Emily to need him but can’t bring himself to mate with such a cold woman. When Emily’s secret pain fetish threatens her life, Vahid must decide whether to save her or let her self-destructive ways rid him of the mate he never thought he’d love.
Warning this book contains one asshole hero, one cold as ice heroine, mating in shifted form in a haystack, a suicide attempt, spanking, anal play, BDSM and it’s all needed to create a very happy ending.
He rolled to his side and pulled her into his arms, holding her close so he could nuzzle her temple. He’d made love to her, showing her how patient and thoughtful he could be, putting her pleasure before his own, cherishing her. Watching her explode twice had filled him with a satisfaction he’d never experienced before. He clearly remembered her saying that orgasms had been forced from her body in the past and that her body had been a vessel for the pleasure of others, not her own pleasure. He’d thought it odd at the time, but had forgotten it in the emotional overdose of that day. Now, he wondered just exactly what she’d meant by that remark.
Have you ever been in a relationship with a man, Em? he asked cautiously.
She stirred against him, a little shiver going through her. He reached down and pulled the coverlet over them.
Of course, I have. Dave is my best friend.
He sensed that she had begun to block some of her thoughts from him. That worried him. She could be so damned self-contained sometimes that he couldn’t get a bead on her. He needed her to be as open as possible. When he had to guess what she thought and felt, he screwed things up royally. And the gods knew there was no more room for screw ups where Emily Carrington was concerned.
Not friendships. Sexual relationships, he clarified.
She shifted again and her discomfort with the question gave him the answer long before she did.
Yes. You know I was Guerlain’s slave. She rolled her shoulders and although he couldn’t see it at the moment, he remembered exactly what the tattoo with Guerlain’s eye looked like.
Not a Dominant/submissive relationship either. An intimate relationship - emotional, sexual, boyfriend/girlfriend kind of stuff, he explained patiently. He knew what her answer would be. He felt it in his bones. However, he needed to hear it from her own lips, or brain in this case, since they were sharing thoughts.
Her insecurity swept over him and he instantly wanted to right all the wrongs that had been done to her in her lifetime.
Does that matter?
Worried golden eyes looked up at him, traces of fear lurking in their depths. Vahid kissed her leisurely, soft kisses without tongue, sweet kisses of love and temptation.
It matters in the sense that this is all new for you. You have no experience with intimacy, do you?
“No.” Her single word answer held more fear than her eyes did and Vahid’s heart ached for her.
“Emily, you are my mate. The relationship I hope to have with you will be made up of many things. Yes, I’d like to be your master, but the Dominant/submissive part of our relationship can be worked out later,” he said, choosing his words carefully. “First, we need to learn to be lovers and mates. We need to learn how to be a couple. The time off Sean gave us will help us build our relationship. Trust is important and so is the truth.”
Emily sighed and rubbed her face against his chest. “I understand, but it’s new for me, and I’m afraid.”
He kissed her mouth again, loving how she tasted, loving the freedom to caress her and express his feelings for her. “Just don’t shut me out, Em. We can’t make it work if we shut each other out,” he said softly. “We have to talk about everything.”
“Okay. I’ll try. It’s hard though. I do love you, but my thoughts and emotions have been locked inside me my entire life. I don’t know how to let them out. And the pain of the last three years didn’t help,” she whispered in a forlorn voice.
“We’ll do this together, Em. I promise you we can get through this and build a life together. You just have to promise me to always try and never give up.”
He looked into her eyes and saw the fear begin to dissipate. A tentative smile curved her pink lips and love turned him into a besotted fool who thought he gazed upon the most beautiful girl in the world.
“I’m not,” she protested in a whisper.
He smiled at her, loving how unaffected she was beneath the icy exterior that she wore like armor. “You are to me.” He smoothed his hands over her back and down to cup her firm buttocks. “Gods, I love touching you. All these years you’ve looked so untouchable, so unapproachable. I can’t believe how wrong I was about you, but I am so very glad I was.”
“I wasn’t untouchable in the gazebo or against the wall,” she reminded him with a faint blush.
His heart began to thud heavily in his chest at the memory and his dragon rose from its sated stupor. “No, you weren’t. I would never have imagined such a naughty, feminine woman lay behind that executive armor of yours,” he said with a teasing chuckle. “Pink thongs, pink toenails… You know, they matched the pink of your…”
Emily clapped a hand over his mouth stopping his words. He grinned behind her fingers. Her face flamed, and he loved it. He pulled her hand down. “Let me up, I need to finish making breakfast. You need to eat something,” he told her, using his most commanding tone. “You’re way too thin. You must have weighed twenty pounds more at the lodge and I’m determined you’ll gain it back in the next two weeks.”
Vahid sat up and stared down at her. Lying flat on her back in the center of the white bed, her pale hair spilling across the pillows, her cheeks and nipples bright pink, she looked like a queen. A rather lusty and seductive queen. He thought about forgetting breakfast again.
She made a face at him. “You have the craziest thoughts,” she protested. “You act like I’m some movie star or something. I’m not that attractive.”
“Maybe you are to me.”
If you’re interested in my worlds, you can check out fivedarkrealms.com or talesofthedarkworld.com. You’ll find all of my books with excerpts, review information and more on my official author website at lexvalentine.com.
Many thanks to Pam for having me on her blog today! Have a wonderful Tuesday!