Amazon Reviews: Proceed With Caution

beautykingdomGood morning, Dear Readers!  It’s a beautiful day here in sunny South Carolina.  I do hope it’s sunny and warm where you are.  I thought I’d begin this latest rant (yes, brace yourself.  it’s going to be a rant.) with an exclamation of how excited I am to see the newest chapter in A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice for those that might not know)’s Beauty series.  If you know anything about me at all you know that part of the reason I do what I do is because of the original Beauty trilogy (don’t worry, I’m going to put a link up later so you can get them for yourself). If you’ve read my novel Beast of Burden, you probably recognize that I was very much influenced by Rice.

I read the original Beauty Trilogy for the first time at probably twelve or thirteen years old.  I smuggled them out of my sister’s room (sorry, Lucy Blue) and read all three in a weekend.  They opened my eyes to a world of not just kinky sex (I already had a rudimentary knowledge of sexy stuff at that point) but to a world where the act of reading was actually a sensual experience.  With every word in those books I was shocked, delighted, aroused and utterly intoxicated.  By words.  The descriptions of the people and places and experiences are so visceral and those images have stayed with me all these years.  I owe Ms. Rice a tremendous debt of gratitude.  She made me a reader, a writer and a woman in that single weekend with just under a thousand pages of text.  Since then I’ve read those books all the way through at least a dozen times.  I had to purchase a new set a few years ago because the ones I had were missing pages and the covers were torn.  I consider them to be my personal reference.  When I’m writing an erotic book and I get lost, I read Beauty’s Punishment (my favorite of the trilogy) so that I can remember that erotic stories are not just about sex, but about the people and the story.  The words. Nowhere in those books does anyone talk about dripping wet love holes. Nor does the dialogue make you cringe.  (“I fuck.  Hard.”  What?!!)  The world in which Beauty and her companions exist is a world where sexual slavery is not only accepted, but longed for.  It’s a symbol of status.  Therefore, there are no silly contracts or instructions on how to properly flog your sub. Rice has no interest writing a BDSM instruction manual or a treatise on how to properly engage in an abusive relationship.  It’s a FANTASY.  It seems with all the erotic fiction out there, we’ve forgotten that these are FANTASIES that are supposed to entertain and titillate.  Not inspire a lifestyle.  But I digress…

Now comes the rant.

I was reading the Amazon reviews of the new book, Beauty’s Kingdom, this morning when I got to work.  I plan to go and get my copy this weekend, but I was curious as to what others were saying.  They were all pretty positive, but I’m having a hard time believing any of them.  NONE of the reviewers on that first page had ever read the first books.  NONE.  One of them claimed that “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty” came out in 1999.  Another said that she hadn’t read the originals because she didn’t think that they would be her cup of tea, but she got an ARC of this and thought what the hell. I get the distinct impression that all of these folks picked it up and thought, “I wonder if this is as good as 50 Shades?”  Which just cuts me to the core for a number of reasons that I’m sure you can guess based on past posts.  The reason why this is annoying to me is because what I really want to know is— will Beauty’s Kingdom stand up alongside the original trilogy?  Is it edgy and sexy and dripping with raw sensuality like the originals?  None of these folks who I’m sure are very intelligent people could tell me because they hadn’t done their research.  And if they’re getting ARCs, then they aren’t just the “average reader” anymore.  They’re a pro reviewer, for lack of a better term.  The “average reader” is looking to them for guidance before they spend the money.  They have a responsibility, in my opinion.  It would be like Roger Ebert reviewing Star Wars after only having watched the last fifteen minutes.

At any rate, despite the purist rage, I’m really excited to get my copy of Beauty’s Kingdom in a couple of days.  I’ll be sure to post my review here when I’m done AND on Amazon.  If for no other reason, then I believe in supporting authors– even superstars like Anne Rice.  And I wouldn’t be a true indie author if I didn’t remind you…

HEY!  If you like erotic retellings of fairy tales, try Beast of Burden by Alexandra Christian!  Don’t believe me?  Try an excerpt…

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His words were cut short by another booming of thunder so loud it echoed off the stone walls, throwing the oil lamp tobeastofburden_original the floor at his feet. Without care for who he was or how he frightened her, Sascha leapt from the bed and threw herself into his arms. At first he was paralyzed with shock, having no idea how to react to this sudden change. After a few moments of her sobbing into his shoulder, he found himself wrapping his arms around her protectively.

“It’s alright,” he soothed. “You’re safe.”

“No I’m not,” she cried. “I’m as unsafe as any one girl could possibly be. Locked up in this castle without a soul that I know. A slave that has no idea what to do or say!” She burst into another torrent of sobs that left her shuddering against him. In a swift movement, he lifted her into his arms and carried her to the chaise by the fire.

The embers had burned low, but still offered some illumination and warmth. He cradled her body against his, tucking her head under his chin. “You’ve nothing to fear, little one,” he purred into her ear softly. “No harm will come to you here.”

“I wish I could believe you, My Lord,” she sniffled.

“Why can’t you?”

She hesitated, the words catching in her throat. How could she tell him how he frightened her? How the slightest glance from him brought terror and arousal in one crushing wave. It was too humiliating and shameful to admit. “I just…I mean…you…”

“Are you afraid of me, Sascha?” He asked this question so matter-of-factly that she nodded before she could stop herself. She blushed deeply and he chuckled. “Put your mind at ease, girl. I promise that it’s not my intention to hurt you.”

They sat on the chaise for several minutes, neither one speaking. The only sounds were the crackling of the fire and the storm raging beyond the walls. Finally, Sascha stared up at her new Master and realized the absurdity of their situation. “My Lord?”

“Cianan.”

“What?” She looked up at him, clearly confused.

“My name. Cianan. Anyone who awakens me in the middle of the night should call me by my given name.” He smiled warmly then tensed again. “But only here.”

Sascha nodded. “Cianan,” she began, her voice still trembling. “Why are you suddenly being so kind to me?”

“You thought me unkind before?” She could only stare at him. “Perhaps I can be a little rough around the edges,” he admitted. “I never meant to be unkind. I beg your pardon if it seemed so.” She seemed to accept this and their silence resumed. She relaxed into his embrace and he sighed, relieved she wasn’t going to run. He inhaled deeply, taking in the scent of her, committing it to memory. Every breath made him believe in her more and more. She was his mate and he would do everything he could to convince her of that fact. “I can feel more questions burning on your tongue, little one.”

Sascha blushed again. “Well…I was wondering…the library…”

“What about it?” His jaw tensed.

“Might I borrow a book? I like to read,” she asked nervously. She kept her eyes trained on the flames before her, not wanting to see any anger on his face. “And I noticed you had a beautiful library.”

“As I’ve told you, you may go anywhere within the castle grounds you like…”

“Except for the cellar,” she finished. “But why not there?” This was the real question that burned on her tongue. The greatest mystery that had grown in her mind.

“It is none of your affair,” he answered stiffly, moving her carefully aside and standing by the fireplace. “It’s my place and you are never to enter. Do you understand?” His eyes flashed with a sudden fury and Sascha cowered.

“Of course, My Lord,” she replied, her eyes cast downward. “I will respect your wishes.”

He looked down at her, trying to smile reassuringly. “Of course you will.” The clock on the other side of the room struck the hour and Sascha yawned. “We should get you into bed lest you be exhausted in the morning.”

“And what should I expect in the morning?” she asked, allowing him to help her to her feet and lead her toward the bed. “Shall I report to the kitchens or the stables?”

He looked puzzled. “Neither.” He pulled back the covers and gestured for her to climb into the bed.

She obeyed and continued. “Well… I was sent here as your slave. But looking around me and the clothes given for me to wear, I just can’t figure what my duties should be.”

“To do whatever I require,” he answered simply, tucking the coverlet around her body. “And right now I require that you sleep.” He turned to leave, but was stopped with her hand on his arm.

“Couldn’t you just stay with me, My Lord?”

He raised his eyebrow. “Of course not. It wouldn’t be appropriate…”

“Please,” she pleaded. “Just until I’ve gone to sleep.” Her eyes looked past him to the window where the wind and rain still pounded at the stone walls. “Storms frighten me so.”

He sighed, defeated by her eyes again. He looked around and pulled a chair from the other side of the room to her bedside and sat down. “It seems that of the two of us, I am more slave to you.”

NEW RELEASE: Beast of Burden

beastofburden_originalHi there kids!  *in that obnoxious camel’s voice* Guess what day it is!!!!! No… it’s not Hump Day.  It’s RELEASE DAY for Alexandra Christian!  That’s right, today marks the triumphant return of Beast of Burden.  Now, if you’ve been a faithful follower of my work, you’ll say “Hmm… this book seems familiar.”  That’s because it is!  This book came out a while back with a press that I used to work with.  Through various and sundry machinations beyond my control, it’s been rebooted and is coming out in its new form TODAY from Purple Sword Publications!

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Sascha had been a slave of Kaspar all her life.  Having never known love, she sought refuge in the pages of books and the kindess of her old master.   When he goes off to the marketplace in a neighboring town, he offers to bring her a gift.  All she asks is a single, red rose.  Little does she know that such a simple treasure will change her life forever.

Rumored to be a scarred and cruel man, Cianan Marek has been searching for a kindred soul.  His life as warrior came to an abrupt end when he was attacked by werewolves in the Outlands.  Bitter and alone, he has been hiding a terrible secret since returning to Kaspar as Lord Governor.  In this adult retelling of the classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, Sascha and Cianan learn the power of destiny and that some beasts lurk in the most unlikely of places.

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Marek, if I may say so, is probably one of the sexiest Alpha heroes I’ve ever written.  Trust me, ladies, he’ll leave you breathless.  Here— try this excerpt—-

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Sascha watched him move with a fascination she couldn’t explain. He was so beautiful and strange. His melancholy consumed him utterly, betraying his strength, but nonetheless alluring in his splendor. When he turned his fiery eyes to hers again, she could see the longing he felt and knew that what he’d said was true. She was his mate. “You mustn’t dwell on that which cannot be changed, my lord. Your very existence is proof of magic in this world.”

Cianan laughed darkly. “You are so very much like Bella. Even under the deepest cloak of darkness, she could see the light.” He smiled again. “Her soul shines so brightly within you. I’ve always felt it.”

“You can feel me?” Sascha asked, desperate to understand.

“Of course. When I close my eyes and quiet my thoughts, I can feel your heart beating. Hear your breath. Smell your scent. It’s how I found you in the forest.”

She rose as he spoke, limping slightly to close the space between them. “How?”

“I wish I knew,” he whispered. “But never doubt it.” He turned to face her when he felt her cool hand upon his shoulder. “Our souls are entwined, Sascha. And no matter how long you live, or how many lives you traverse—” His words weakened her and she stumbled on her wounded ankle, but he caught her easily, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her body against his. “I will always find you.” Tangling his hand in the mussed curls at the back of her head, he tipped her mouth upwards to meet his in an insistent kiss. At first, she tried to pull away, not knowing how to react, but he held her fast, not letting her escape. And when he teased her mouth open with his tongue and delved inside, she found that escape was the farthest thing from her mind. She let him in eagerly, instinct taking over and letting their tongues play together in a sensual dance that left her panting his name. “You are my mate,” he growled, licking his lips.

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Alright, kids.  Here’s the deal.  The book is out RIGHT NOW!  So run over to any of these fine establishments below and get your copy today.  And in celebration of the re-release, I’m going to run a contest over the weekend where you can win ANOTHER of my books, so stay tuned…….

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My books can be found  at Purple Sword Publications,  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks and anywhere quality eBooks are sold. You can also click the book covers and be whisked away to the bookshop! 

COMING SOON: Beast of Burden

I don’t know if I’ve made a big deal about this or not, but I have some GREAT news.  Ya know that little Beauty and the Beast retelling I did a while back?  Well it’s coming back out in a spanking new edition.  It’s romantic, it’s kinky… it’s got werewolves and D/s and good and evil and spanking and sex and its just… uggh…  its just too much.  It’s coming soon from Purple Sword Publications…………

beastofburden_originalWhy yes, yes that is a bit of man-titty.  And isn’t it beautiful?  I thought so.  So yeah, this one will be comin’ at you in the next couple of weeks.  Stay tuned for more news….

Wicked After Dark: A Tortured Hero

 

Click me to hop to the next blog!

So for Day Three of the Wicked After Dark hop, let’s have a little talk about tortured paranormal heroes.  The main character in my book, Beast of Burden, is a tortured hero.  Cianan Marek is the hero we all dream about.  He’s handsome, scarred, brooding… He’s a werewolf.  And I’m not talking about one of those sissy quasi-werewolves.   He’s a bona fide badass with a painful transformation, full moon rage and complete nudity afterwards.  It’s made clear from the beginning of the book that he is not a nice guy.  Even before he made the Change, he had a hair-trigger temper and a lust for violence.  The only thing that could melt his heart was the beautiful Lady Isabella.  And when a tragedy befalls her, his life is destroyed, twisting him into a tormented hermit that is feared by everyone.  Until, of course, a little slave girl named Sascha enters the picture and manages to chip away at his heart of stone.

So why do we love these guys so much?  The tortured hero is an archetype that we see over and over in literature and movies.  Is it because we, as women, are always looking for someone to “fix?”  Or could it be that we love to live dangerously, sleeping beside a ball of pent up rage?  Whatever it is, we love them.  Their angst gives them an edge.  And if they’re a guilty paranormal—all the better. 

Probably my favorite  tortured hero is Heathcliff from the Emily Bronte gothic romance, Wuthering Heights.  And in fact, if you’ve read Wuthering Heights, you’ll probably see a lot of Heathcliff in Marek.  He loves poor, stupid Cathy with all of his heart and when she marries another because of her family’s prejudices—he  loses it.  He becomes this mean and hateful old man that everyone fears.  Seeks vengeance on the whole Earnshaw clan.  But in the end you realize, he loved Cathy all along.  And women eat that shit up.  That notion of how everything he does is for you is so romantic.  It makes us go gooey in all the right places.

Exhibit B—Edward Cullen.  Reluctant vampire with a skin problem.  Ever since Twilight came out, the teeny bopper love of Edward has run rampant throughout the country.  Even among soccer moms.  There are tons of theories out there as to why Team Edward has such a vast following, but I offer, dear reader, that it’s because he’s a tortured hero.  He struggles with loving Bella, yet knowing that their romance could ultimately end badly.  He struggles with the faces of all the humans he killed in the throes of his bloodlust.  He struggles with not wanting to turn Bella into a soulless creature of the night.  Let’s put it this way—he just struggles.  And we love watching it.  Our heartstrings are plucked like an out of tune violin when Edward looks into her eyes and says, “It’s a bit easier to be around you when I’m not thirsty.” 

Marek is no different than the tortured heroes that we all know and love.  But will he be redeemed and have a happy ending like Edward?  Or will he die alone, shrieking at ghosts in a cupboard like Heathcliff? Only one way to find out….

Beast of Burden is just one of the books that you can choose from my catalog, should you win one of the coveted PDFs.  In the spirit of goodwill and hot Halloween sex, I offer a little excerpt to whet your appetite.

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“If the wolf ever comes upon you, its eyes glowing red with hunger. Pain is the only thing that will stop it. Hurt me, Sascha.”

“I could never,” she whimpered, turning her face from his, not wanting to face the truth of his nature.

“It’s the only way. Pain will force me to change. As I said before, pain makes us human.” He took her chin gently between his fingertips and turned her face back to him. “Promise me, Sascha.” Her eyes filled with tears again and she shook her head. “You have to promise me. Hurt me. Kill me if you have to. Do whatever you have to do to stay safe.”

“I…” She struggled to get the words out, but they turned to choked sobs. “I can’t…do this…”

He took her face between his fingertips, angrily this time. His fingertips dug into her jawbone and she whimpered against the pain. “You have no choice. You are my slave and I’m ordering you to do this.” She closed her eyes and turned away again, her jaw set in defiance. After a few moments he spoke softly. “If you can’t promise me this one thing, I’ll send you away.” His voice caught in his throat, choking on the sentence. But she could tell from the hard line of his mouth that he meant it. Her heart leapt in terror as the realization of his threat hit her hard. Suddenly the thought of being sent away from him was more than she could bear. He sighed heavily and heaved his body off of her, standing up and starting to pace back and forth, pushing his hands through his hair. “Make your choice quickly, Sascha. I haven’t the time for halfhearted decisions.”

She sniffled, sitting up at his feet and staring up at him with tearful eyes. “Please don’t send me away, My Lord.”

“Say it. Say you promise to draw blood, even kill me if you must.”

The words wrenched more sobs from her throat, but she knew what had to be done. “I promise,” she whispered, hanging her head in defeat. “I will do whatever you ask.”

He nodded and knelt down in front of her, putting his arms around her shoulders and pulling her tightly against him. “Good girl. I won’t lose you again. I can’t.”

His embrace was desperate, as if he didn’t want to ever let her go. She inhaled deeply, taking

him into her lungs. It made her dizzy and she nearly swooned, but his hands were in her hair, pulling her head back to stare up at him. Her eyes were open when his mouth descended on hers once more. His kiss was furious and their tongues fought for dominance before he won out. When he rose, he pulled her with him, gathering her into his arms and turning to lay her back down across his bed, their lips never parting. By the time he released her, she was gasping for breath and pulling at his shirt, wanting him to stay close. He took her hands, putting them by her sides as he knelt beside her on the bed. Her eyes stayed on him as he lifted her pelvis easily, tugging her torn dress over her hips and throwing it aside. He made another growling sound as his eyes slithered over her body and Sascha’s heart skipped a beat. She started to protest, but his mouth silenced her again. His hands were all over her, tracing lightly with the tips of his fingers. She groaned softly, stretching out beneath him, remembering all the things she’d read in Bella’s journal. Would he work the same magic on her? She was apprehensive, but more afraid that this would end.

Cianan slid to his side, his hand placed warmly on her belly as he kissed the cuff of her ear. “You’re so beautiful, Sascha. Seeing you lying here ignites a fire I’d thought long dead.”

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Damn I love that Marek.  Whew… Don’t forget to click either the FACEBOOK FAN PAGE or my Twitter to follow and enter the contest.  And you must send me a message and let me know your email so I’ll be able to inform you that you’ve won.  If you prefer rafflecopter, again, I’m experimenting so feel free to enter there.  I hope to see you all again tomorrow!

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My books can be found  at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks and anywhere quality eBooks are sold.

Fifty Shades of WTF!?!– PT. 3, The Revenge

My subconscious is telling me not to write this post.  She jumps up and down wearing her angriest steel stilletto cha-cha shoes.  I smack her down.

Don’t worry.  I didn’t lift that line directly from Fifty Shades.  But I could have.  I read three chapters tonight and my first observation is that I want to take Anastasia’s subconscious by the hair, pull her head back and slit her throat.  I really want her subconscious to stop talking.  Look, I’m all for literary devices, but there comes a point when these little inner dialogues become tiresome.  As I’ve told my students a hundred times.  Show.  Don’t Tell.  This chick is hearing more voices than Charley Manson.

And dark, unexplored places.  Can we stop visiting those?  Is she talking about her basement or her vagina?  Or perhaps Christian’s psyche?  I can’t quite figure it out.  But every night she’s dreaming of dark, unexplored places.  My editor gets all over me for using the word they too much, yet this babe is getting away with dark unexplored places on every page.  Though I will say— it’s better than gaping maw.

The last bit I read tonight involved the deflowering of Anastasia.  WTF?!  First off, we spent the previous ten pages discussing how Grey is a cold and unfeeling sadist.  He shows her his dungeon for fuck’s sake (yes… I said it.  I said the F-word.)!  Oh and by the way– can we not just call a spade a spade.  Playroom, oxblood leather that gives it a romantic feel?  Whatever… its a fuckin’ dungeon.  Anyway, the about face was so abrupt that I thought I had skipped a few pages.  I get that we wanted to incorporate the virgin fantasy.  But perhaps that scene would have been better suited BEFORE the dungeon and the “I don’t make love.  I fuck.  Hard.”  line. That being said, I thought that the sex scene was pretty well written and I admit– parts of it made me flutter a little bit.  I have to give credit where it’s due.  Grey is a pretty damn hot.  His choices of words are very believable and very seductive.  So kudos to his end of the dialogue.  But so help me… if that bitch says “oh my” one more time….

I’d like to end tonight with a little taste of my own “deflowering” scene from Beast of Burden.  Like Christian Grey, my werewolf hero, Cianan Marek, is a gruff and dominating son of a bitch with a soft spot for a certain girl.  In this scene, our hero and heroine are finally going to get it on!  And of course, being a good little medievalish slave— she reveals her virginity and apprehension to her Master…. rawwrr…

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Her eyes were open when his mouth descended on hers once more. His kiss was  furious and their tongues fought for dominance before he won out. When he rose, he pulled her with him, gathering her into his arms and turning to lay her back down across his bed, their lips never parting. By the time he released her, she was gasping for breath and pulling at his shirt, wanting him to stay close. He took her hands, putting them by her sides as he knelt beside her on the bed. Her eyes stayed on him as he lifted her pelvis easily, tugging her torn dress over her hips and throwing it aside. He made another growling sound as his eyes slithered over her body and Sascha’s heart skipped a beat. She started to protest, but his mouth silenced her again. His hands were all over her, tracing lightly with the tips of his fingers. She groaned softly, stretching out beneath him, remembering all the things she’d read in Bella’s journal. Would he work the same magic on her? She was apprehensive, but more afraid that this would end.

Cianan slid to his side, his hand placed warmly on her belly as he kissed the cuff of her ear. “You’re so beautiful, Sascha. Seeing you lying here ignites a fire I’d thought long dead.”

She blushed, but couldn’t bring herself to say anything in response, feeling only the palms of his hands moving in slow circles around her navel. It was as if he were memorizing her skin, every curve, every blemish. He leaned down to kiss her again, but she shied away.

“Cianan,” she whispered, her fingers against his lips. “I should tell you. I’ve…” she stammered, losing her nerve every time she looked into those glowing embers in his eyes. “I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what…”

“Ssshhh…” he soothed, kissing each of her fingertips. “You’ve nothing to fear, little one. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”

He gave her a comforting smile and she nodded. She grew quiet as he placed a trail of burning kisses across her collarbone. She closed her eyes, wanting to clear her head from the spell he was working over her with his hands. He continued stroking her skin, caressing each little crease and studying her reactions. The sweeps became wider until his fingertips brushed the gentle curvature of her breast. She made a small whine and he took it as encouragement, taking the breast into his mouth again. This time, he took the bud of her nipple between his teeth, nipping it gently with the point of his pearled canine.

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And of course…. you have to read the rest for yourself!  But I can tell you how to get the rest… take a little trip over to Amazon, AllRomanceEbooksBookstrand or B&N.com.  Just sayin’….

As for Fifty Shades, I’ll be back tomorrow with another set of musings LIVE from ConCarolinas in Charlotte, NC!  I’ll be appearing on panels Saturday and Sunday, but I will be available for snarky comments from the audience at many others.  See y’all soon!

It’s Beach Season!

Aaaah…. the humid air of a Carolina spring.  The only difference between a Carolina spring and a Carolina summer is the rain.  It’s only mid-April and already the temperatures are climbing into the 90s!  That can only mean one thing– it’s time for the beach!  Long days of lounging on the sand, watching the waves and sipping a tall fruity drink  under a garishly colored umbrella.  Of course if you’re like me, you’ve always got a good book in your beach bag.  So seeing as how I never do much promotion, I thought I’d just give a run-down of my releases.  Just to give you some ideas for loading up your Kindle.  I promise they won’t disappoint!

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Available NOW from Rebel Ink Press!

Beast of Burden:  Sascha has been a slave in the village of Kaspar for most of her life.  Unappreciated and alone, she lives out her days toiling away and putting up with constant torment.  When her kind master goes off to the marketplace in a neighboring town, he offers to bring her a gift.  All she asks is for a single, red rose.  Little does she know that the rose will cast her out into the service of the beastly Lord Marek.  Rumored to be a scarred and cruel man, Cianan Marek has been searching for a kindred soul.  His life as a warrior came to an abrupt end when he was attacked by werewolves in the Outlands.  Bitter and alone, he’s been hiding a terrible secret since returning to Kaspar as Lord Governor.  In this adult retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Sascha and Cianan learn the power of destiny and that some beasts lurk in the most unlikely of places.  This  one is my newest release and I must say— it’s a hot little number.

 

“Dollface”: “Dollface” is the story of Caroline, a plain Jane, small town Southern girl who just happens to be a funeral home cosmetian. Everyone in town likes Caroline, though they’ve always felt that there was something not quite right about her. For years Caroline has pined in silence for the funeral director’s son, Scott Bauer. Scott has always been kind, but never returned her affections. Her world comes tumbling down when she discovers that Scott is to be married and will leave her forever. She can’t let that happen and will go to unnatural lengths to keep him. The story has a bit of graphic violence and alludes somewhat to necrophilia, mostly in the style of Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily.”  This one’s straight horror, so there’s no hot sex.  But the anti-heroine, Caroline, is genuinely creepy!

“Masquerade”:  “What’s your fantasy?”  Blythe McLachlan had the perfect life until the night he said those three little words that could make or break a relationship.  When Blythe tells her husband about her fantasy of a hot menage, he’s less than pleased.  But when he drops her off at a mysterious masquerade ball, she finds that the boundaries of love can be crossed and rules are made to be broken.  This short story has been described as a smouldering piece of Heaven that’s sure to fog up your iPad screen…

 

“Second Skin”:  When Catherine Spencer meets the seductive Jack Leannan at her company dinner party, she could never have imagined how fast she’d fall for him. He’s everything her husband isn’t—older, confident, and highly sexual. He lures her under his spell with promises of passion beyond her wildest dreams, and she finds herself ready to give up everything. But Jack is no ordinary lover, and the secret he harbors could destroy her.
Hellsong:  Can mercy be a sin? Lonely bookstore manager Theo Chandler lost herself in Hurricane Katrina. Found wandering alone in a swamp with no memory of her life before the storm, she has spent the last few years building a half-life where no one touches her so no one can guess her secret. Only Father Jerome, a voodoo priest who witnessed her birth, and the minions of Lucifer know her true identity and the monster she could become.
As the last of the Grigori, Heaven’s guardians of humankind on Earth, the angel Saraquel should destroy beautiful Theo before the forces of Hell use her to destroy him, humanity, or even Heaven itself. But like Jerome, he sees the humanity in her that far outshines the hidden demon. He forms a connection to her that he has never known with anyone else through all his immortal life. Choosing to protect her, he joins Theo and Jerome in a fight to bring down hell’s design and save her human soul.
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Wow!  I can’t believe I have that many releases to shamelessly plug!  And coming soon, I’ll be releasing the first in a BRAND NEW SERIES!  I can’t say much about it just now, but it’s my first foray into the world of self-publishing.  I thought I’d give it a try and see what happens.  The idea is to release some “quickies” that will most likely be sold in the $0.99- $1.99 range.  Each story is an erotic paranormal romance that revolves around this strange little place called “The Oubliette.”  So be on the lookout for those!
Finally, I’d really like to thank all of you that have been my faithful readers both of my books and my blogs.  It feels so good to know that there are folks out there that appreciate what you do.  Thanks folks!!  I won’t forget you when I become rich and famous… hehe….

Cianan Marek: Tortured Hero

 

Available NOW from Rebel Ink Press!

The main character in my new book, Beast of Burden, is a tortured hero.  Cianan Marek is the hero we all dream about.  He’s handsome, scarred, brooding… He’s a werewolf.  And I’m not talking about one of those sissy quasi-werewolves.   He’s a bona fide badass with a painful transformation, full moon rage and complete nudity afterwards.  It’s made clear from the beginning of the book that he is not a nice guy.  Even before he made the Change, he had a hair-trigger temper and a lust for violence.  The only thing that could melt his heart was the beautiful Lady Isabella.  And when a tragedy befalls her, his life is destroyed, twisting him into a tormented hermit that is feared by everyone.  Until, of course, a little slave girl named Sascha enters the picture and manages to chip away at his heart of stone.

So why do we love these guys so much?  The tortured hero is an archetype that we see over and over in literature and movies.  Is it because we, as women, are always looking for someone to “fix?”  Or could it be that we love to live dangerously, sleeping beside a ball of pent up rage?  Whatever it is, we love them.  Their angst gives them an edge.  And if they’re a guilty paranormal—all the better. 

Probably my favorite  tortured hero is Heathcliff from the Emily Bronte gothic romance, Wuthering Heights.  And in fact, if you’ve read Wuthering Heights, you’ll probably see a lot of Heathcliff in Marek.  He loves poor, stupid Cathy with all of his heart and when she marries another because of her family’s prejudices—he  loses it.  He becomes this mean and hateful old man that everyone fears.  Seeks vengeance on the whole Earnshaw clan.  But in the end you realize, he loved Cathy all along.  And women eat that shit up.  That notion of how everything he does is for you is so romantic.  It makes us go gooey in all the right places.

Exhibit B—Edward Cullen.  Reluctant vampire with a skin problem.  Ever since Twilight came out, the teeny bopper love of Edward has run rampant throughout the country.  Even among soccer moms.  There are tons of theories out there as to why Team Edward has such a vast following, but I offer, dear reader, that it’s because he’s a tortured hero.  He struggles with loving Bella, yet knowing that their romance could ultimately end badly.  He struggles with the faces of all the humans he killed in the throes of his bloodlust.  He struggles with not wanting to turn Bella into a soulless creature of the night.  Let’s put it this way—he just struggles.  And we love watching it.  Our heartstrings are plucked like an out of tune violin when Edward looks into her eyes and says, “It’s a bit easier to be around you when I’m not thirsty.” 

Marek is no different than the tortured heroes that we all know and love.  But will he be redeemed and have a happy ending like Edward?  Or will he die alone, shrieking at ghosts in a cupboard like Heathcliff? Only one way to find out….

******** EXCERPT********

Cianan Marek had never been so confused.  He was not a person who lived in a state of confusion.  He was always sure and confident.  It was what made him such a formidable warrior. He’d always known what to do and how to do it efficiently.  But not this time.  This new feeling of uncertainty left a distasteful bitterness on his tongue.    He just couldn’t seem to think his way around Sascha.  He’d been waiting so long to find her again.  Bella had promised that she would return to him and now, after twenty years, her promise had come to fruition, yet he had no idea what to do.  He sighed and took another long dram of the glassful of whiskey he held.  Though his “curse” had granted him immortality and eternal youth, he felt very old tonight.  He was exhausted, both mentally and physically, from worry.  He wasn’t sure what he’d expected.  That she would see him and instantly remember her past existence? He’d thought of so many ways to try and convince her of the soul she carried.

            He shook his head and looked down at his empty glass.  He let it fall from his fingertips and roll across the stone floor before taking up the bottle from the table at his side.  He leaned back in his chair, bringing the bottle to his lips, staring up at her portrait that hung over his fireplace.  In the painting, Isabella stood nude, her cascades of hair falling over her shoulder to hide one breast.  In her hand she held a single red rose, pressed to her lips of similar color. She’d commissioned that portrait herself to give him as a wedding gift.  It was quite scandalous and at first he’d been angry with her for posing so suggestively in front of another man.  It seemed so silly now.  “Lady Isabella Caoimhe Marek,” he slurred, raising the bottle in reverence to her.  Her blue eyed countenance seemed to stare down at him in judgment.  She’d hated it when he drank.  But as he’d told her so many times, some occasions just called for it.  Thinking of her was still so painful.  She’d been the one thing on this Earth that he’d loved above all other things and she was gone, destroyed by the very person who’d sworn to protect her.

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Find this and other works by Alexandra Christian at:

Amazon

All Romance eBooks

Bookstrand

And don’t forget– a swag pack and a spankin’ new copy of Beast of Burden is up for grabs this week.  All you have to do is LIKE Beast of Burden on All Romance eBooks OR leave me a comment with an email addy.  The winner will be announced HERE on Saturday evening!