Please join me in welcoming Marian Perera to my blog. Maria is a brand new Samhain author. Her first book, Before The Storm, released this month at Samhain Publishing. Have I read it yet? Nope. Can I wait to get tucked in? Nope. The book is at this very moment sitting atop my TBR pile, and I look forward to the time I have a moment to get all tucked up and cozy with my e-reader and Before the Storm.
So, please join me in welcoming Marian to the wonderful world of ebooks…
(Oh, and keep reading til the end of her super steamy post. She’s running a cooool contest!!!)
Marian Perera’s Guest Blog:
I enjoyed reading Lexxie Couper’s vivid description of how her Australian heritage influenced her novels. And while her love of her roots came through clearly, it also made me realize that my background did the same thing for me.
That had never occurred to me before. For one thing, I write fantasies set in worlds that can be screwed-up, to say the least. For another, my background has been… not exactly stable. I was born in Sri Lanka, but grew up in the Middle East, studied in the States and migrated to Canada, where I’m hoping to finally put down roots. It’s been something of a roller-coaster ride, so I try not to think of my past. I’m usually too busy focusing on the future.
But Lexxie’s post made it pretty clear to me just how much of an influence the one has on the other. Even for a writer of fantasy novels.
Like me, my characters come from different lands, so there’s always potential for their cultures colliding. And that’s a great way to ratchet up the sexual tension. When people are fiercely attracted to each other but are held back by the knowledge that their relationship will never be acknowledged by their families or approved of by society (which might well make their children illegitimate), it’s not an easy problem to solve.
Sometimes it can go even further than this. In my debut novel, Before the Storm, Mayerd is an exile from his homeland Iternum, facing execution if he ever returns. But he finds refuge in Dagre, and becomes the right-hand-man of the hero. So he’s okay now, right?
Wrong. Iternans and Dagrans, although they look more or less similar, are different species and can’t interbreed. Any Dagran woman who becomes involved with Mayerd will be childless, in a society where families are very important.
So he’ll be alone for the rest of his life. And Iternans live for a very long time.
It’s similar to what happened to me. I loved being in the States and Canada – and still do – but whenever I vacationed in Sri Lanka, there were culture clashes. Plus, my extended family was not pleased by my dating a guy from Sugar Land. The initials matched, but the locations were pretty different otherwise.
But there’s one facet of my initial culture that did show up in my novel. Sri Lanka was colonized by the British, so I read Enid Blyton books when I was little, and Agatha Christie mysteries as I grew older. In the Middle East, a place of sand dunes and skyscrapers, I dreamed of manor houses and tea services and candlelit libraries with leather-bound tomes.
As a result, Dagre is Victorian England’s bastard child by medieval fantasy. The hero, Robert Demeresna, is very upper-class – rich, refined and repressed – but at the start of the novel, his greatest enemy gives him a gift. The gift turns out to be the heroine, Alexis Khayne, who’s a mare.
That’s the ugly underbelly of Dagre. Beneath the linen napkins and the lace-veiled hats, there’s a lot of xenophobia and misogyny. As a mare, Alex is considered lower than a prostitute, since at least whores earn coin for what they do. Even her intelligence is valued only as a means of manipulating men, and bringing their secrets to her master.
She hopes this existence might change when her owner gives her away to Robert. Except… it doesn’t matter that Robert is protective and generous towards her, partly because he’s the old-school type who’s always courteous with women and partly because he falls in love with her. It also doesn’t matter that she becomes slowly attracted to him.
They have no future together, especially not after he discovers what’s been done to her during the course of her training as a mare. Class strictures: the nobility might make temporary use of a fallen woman, but that’s as far as it’ll go.
And here I thought the only concession to my culture was my characters drinking a lot of tea.
Before the Storm: The Blurb
Whore…gift…and unexpected ally.
Eden Trilogy, Book 1
In Dagran society, Alex is the lowest of the low—a “mare”, an object to be used by the nobility. When her owner, Stephen Garnath, gifts her to his greatest rival, she begins plotting her path to freedom. Nothing and no one will ever control her again. Not her degrading past, and certainly not her growing attraction to a man reputed to be an even crueler master than Garnath.
Robert Demeresna is instantly suspicious of such a generous gift. Yet she comes to him armed with only her sharp mind—a potent weapon he can use to defend his people from the enemy. And underneath, an unbreakable spirit that besieges the walls of his heart.
Slowly, Robert chips away at Alex’s defenses, striking sparks that make her begin to believe even a lowly whore like her could be worthy of him. Until Garnath springs a trap so cleverly hidden, war is unleashed before either of them sees it coming. A new kind of war fought with steam engines, explosives—and magic with a killing edge…
Warning: Contains violence, steam engines, steamier sex and multiple explosions of the unstable chemical variety.
Interested in winning a copy of Before The Storm? You can!
Just read the following excerpt from the book, and then answer the question below in the comments sextion. PLEASE, remember to leave your email address so we can contact you.
Before the storm: An Excerpt
Alex’s head fell back as he kissed his way down her throat, nuzzling and lightly sucking the soft flesh there. The mat of hair on his chest rubbed against her nipples, making them stiffen even further, and then he shifted slightly to cup her breast. She buried her hands in his hair and pulled his head to her, longing for more of his hard, sensitive mouth and searching tongue. His thigh pressed between her legs, and she opened them. Robert groaned into her mouth and pushed her thighs wider apart, his hand lingering on the inside of one long leg.
“Alex.” He finally dragged his mouth away from hers. “Show me what you like.”
“Anything.” Alex kissed the corner of his mouth, his firm jaw. She drew a fingertip lightly around the bandage on his left arm, then ran her hands over his shoulders and found the small of his back.
Robert sighed. “I mean it. Not anything. Do you like to be kissed here?”
His thumb circled one nipple, and Alex managed a nod. She closed her eyes when she felt the soft scratch of his beard against the puckered, sensitive flesh.
“Take it in your mouth,” she said breathlessly, and gasped when he did. He lashed her nipple with his tongue before he sucked, and her back arched towards him. Alex tossed her head, and she heard herself saying his name through her teeth. Robert stroked the hair back from her forehead and bent to take her other nipple into his mouth. She whimpered as he teased, prolonging her need before he suckled and made her hips buck upwards.
“You’re a fast learner,” she whispered when she could speak again.
Slowly his hand moved up her thigh until he cupped the damp curls, rubbing his palm against them. It was maddening, and Alex tried to arch again, to push herself closer to him.
“Next lesson.” His teeth grazed her ear.
She couldn’t wait. She reached down, guiding his finger into her folds and to the small bud hidden in them, showing him how to rub it.
He began to circle it slowly, playing with her by taking his finger away to slide deeply into her, returning to caress in slick rhythmic strokes that made her gasp. A deep clenching tension mounted in her, making her hands tighten on his back. She was rocking against him, pressing against his finger, nothing mattered but what he was doing to her, and then her need exploded in convulsions of pleasure so intense that she cried out, again and again, her head falling back with the force of it, and Robert kissed her throat.
“See?” he said. “It wasn’t just ‘anything’, it was something, except I’d never have found the damn thing if you hadn’t pointed it out.”
Alex’s laughter was shaky. “You—you can take your hand away now.”
“I thought you liked it.”
“Yes, but it’s your turn.” She traced the long line of his spine with her finger, feeling the shiver that followed it, and then gripped his buttocks, kneading the hard muscles. He gasped and rolled over on his back, pulling her on top of him.
Alex suddenly found herself sitting astride him, and she went still. Her knees registered the softness of a fur spread, but the rest of her body noted one thing only—a man beneath her. Too many times in the past, she had seen a man like that—naked, reclining, erect, expecting a service from her. She thought nothing, but her body behaved impeccably, and her hands trailed along his belly as she bent to take him in her mouth.
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Find out more about Marian at her website.
Buy your copy of Before the Storm here.