Help me in welcoming talented, multi-award winning author Sherry Thomas! I got so used to seeing her accept the RITA every year at RWA, I’ll be discombobulated she isn’t there this year. Sherry is one of the most unique women I know, and certainly is one of the most talented. Here’s her blog post to you all.
My July release, RAVISHING THE HEIRESS, has porn in it.
by Sherry Thomas
And I am not talking about people snickering at romance as porn. There is bona fide erotica, i.e., literature intended to arouse sexual desire.
It came about like this. When I conceived of the Fitzhugh trilogy, my agent advised me to make it tightly knit. And to do that, she felt it was best to make sure the story of the third and final couple is threaded throughout the trilogy, starting from the first book. So in BEGUILING THE BEAUTY, book 1 of the trilogy, I establish that Helena and Hastings, the hero and heroine of book 3, have a love-hate relationship, in that he loves her—though she doesn’t know it—and she kind of hates him, for having always been an ass to her.
So in RAVISHING THE HEIRESS, book 2, Helena and Hastings run into each other. They trade their usual insults. As much as I enjoyed watching them needle each other, however, I felt the scene needed some momentum and some revelation.
And the following happened. (Helena owns a small publishing firm, by the way.)
“I’m looking for a publisher,” he said abruptly.
She had to yank herself out of the memory of their midnight kiss. “I didn’t know you were literate.”
He tsked. “My dear Miss Fitzhugh, were Byron to come back to life today, he’d take a club to his good foot, out of jealousy of my brilliance.”
She had a horrible thought. “Please don’t tell me you write verse.”
“Good gracious, no. I’m a novelist.”
She breathed a sigh of relief. “I do not publish fiction.”
He was undeterred. “Then consider it a memoir.”
“I fail to see what you have done in your life that is worth setting down in print.”
“Did I not mention that it is an erotic novel—or an erotic memoir, as it may be?”
And it isn’t just any kind of erotica, but a bondage story–a total coincidence, as this manuscript was completed long before I’d ever heard of 50 Shades of You Know What.
To wit, this is the opening of THE BRIDE OF LARKSPEAR, Hastings’s grand oeuvre,
I shall begin with a description of my bed, for one must make the setting of a book clear from the first line. It is a bed with a pedigree. Kings have slept on it, noblemen have gone to their deaths, and brides beyond count have learned, at last, why their mothers ask them to “Think of England.”
The bedstead is of oak, heavy, stout, almost indestructible. Pillars rise from the four corners to support a frame on which hang heavy curtains in winter. But it is not winter; the heavy beddings remain in their cedar chests. Upon the feather mattresses are spread only sheets of French linen, as decadent as Baudelaire’s verses.
But fine French linen is not so difficult to come by these days. And beds with pedigrees are still only furniture. What distinguishes this bed is the woman attached to it—her wrists tied behind her to one of the excessively sturdy bedposts.
And this being a work of Eros, she is, of course, naked.
My bride does not look at me. She is determined, as ever, to shunt me to the periphery of her existence, even on this, our wedding night.
I touch her. Her skin is as cool as marble, the flesh beneath firm and young. I turn her face to look into her eyes, haughty eyes that have scorned me for as long as I remember.
“Why are my hands tied?” she murmurs. “Are you afraid of them?”
“Of course,” I reply, “A man who stalks a lioness should ever be wary.”
The restraints actually symbolize the bonds of marriage, as Hastings, in real life, is concerned that he and Helena might be pushed into a hasty marriage of convenience if she is found out to be overstepping the boundaries of acceptable conduct with another man, one she loves but cannot have. Hastings fears that Helena would hate being married to him, and the erotica is his way of dealing with that fear.
I don’t know about you, but I am totally tickled that TEMPTNG THE BRIDE, my October release, has a porn writer as my hero. I’m not sure whether he is completely unique in that sense among romance heroes, but he has to be unusual. ?
There will be more excerpts in that book, but only excerpts. So I’ve decided that if other deadlines and life allow, I will self-publish THE BRIDE OF LARKSPEAR in its entirety as an e-novella sometime in September. In the meanwhile, I have an ARC of TEMPTNG THE BRIDE for a commenter. If you’ve read another porn writer hero, by all means, let me know. ?
RAVISHING THE HEIRESS by Sherry Thomas
Millicent understands the terms of her arranged marriage all too well. She gets to be a Countess by marrying an impoverished Earl. And in return, the Earl Fitzhugh receives the benefit of her vast wealth, saving his family from bankruptcy. Because of her youth, they have agreed to wait eight years before consummating the marriage—and then, only to beget an heir. After which, they will lead separate lives.
It is a most sensible arrangement. Except for one little thing. Somehow Millie has fallen head over heels in love with her husband. Her husband, who has become her very best friend, but nothing more… Her husband, who plans to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful and newly widowed Isabelle, as soon as he has honored the pact with his wife…
As the hour they truly become husband-and-wife draws near, both Millie and Fitzhugh must face the truth in their hearts. Has their pact bred only a great friendship—or has it, without either of them quite noticing, given rise to a great love?
His name was George Edward Arthur Granville Fitzhugh—the family name and the title were the same. But apparently those who knew him well called him Fitz.
Fitz, her lips and teeth played with the syllable. Fitz.
At dinner, the earl let Colonel Clements and Mrs. Graves carry the majority of the conversation. Was he shy? Did he still obey the tenet that children should be seen and not heard? Or was he using the opportunity to assess his possible future in-laws—and his possible future wife?
Except he didn’t appear to be studying her. Not that he could do so easily: a three-tier, seven-branch silver epergne, sprouting orchids, lilies, and tulips from every appendage, blocked the direct line of sight between them.
Through petals and stalks, she could make out his occasional smiles—each of which made her ears hot—directed at Mrs. Graves to his left. But he looked more often in her father’s direction.
Her grandfather and her uncle had built the Graves fortune. Her father had been young enough, when the family coffer began to fill, to be sent to Harrow. He’d acquired the expected accent, but his natural temperament was too lackluster to quite emanate the gloss of sophistication his family had hoped for.
There he sat at the head of the table, neither a ruthless risk taker like his late father, nor a charismatic, calculating entrepreneur like his late brother, but a bureaucrat, a caretaker of the riches and assets thrust upon him. Hardly the most exciting of men.
Yet he commanded the earl’s attention this night.
Behind him on the wall hung a large mirror in an ornate frame, which faithfully reflected the company at table. Millie sometimes looked into the mirror and pretended that she was an outside observer documenting the intimate particulars of a private meal. But tonight she had yet to give the mirror a glance, since the earl sat at the opposite end of the table, next to her mother.
She found him in the mirror. Their eyes met.
He had not been looking at her father. Via the mirror, he’d been looking at her.
Mrs. Graves had been forthcoming on the mysteries of marriage—she did not want Millie ambushed by the facts of life. The not-so-pretty reality of what happened between a man and a woman behind closed doors usually had Millie regard members of the opposite sex with wariness. But his attention caused only fireworks inside her—detonations of thrill, blasts of full-fledged happiness.
If they were married, and if they were alone…
But she already knew: She would not mind it.
Not with him.
Sherry has generously agreed to give away a brand new ARC of her upcoming release, Tempting the Bride, to one lucky commenter here on her post! And if you haven’t yet entered the Huge Because You Are Mine contest, with prizes like a Kindle Fire and Nook, make sure you do here!