Today, we're lucky enough to get two authors in one :). The very talented Kate Rothwell also writes in hotter vein as Summer Devon, and I'm thrilled they could both be here today :). Welcome Kate and Summer!
Marie wanted something about history – it’s an easy topic for me. History is behind several of the stories that have come bubbling up from my brain.
I often do not have a clue when people ask me where I get my ideas, but I do remember precisely where I got my first book, Somebody Wonderful (now out of print, but still available for a penny from Amazon. That one’s under my real name, Kate Rothwell) and it came from history. I’d read an account of how New York policemen used to slam their nightsticks on the pavement to summon other cops for help. The vibration would alert cops blocks way. I wanted to write a story using that. I was also intrigued by the thought of Mick used as a real name in a time when that was a racial insult. The character of Mick the New York copper came into my head and he was the basis of the rest. Oh, and I’d just watched the Perils of Pauline, a silent movie, and that woman who fell into trouble every time she turned around formed my heroine for that book.
The ideas for my two latest historicals also came from some random facts from history—my own included. Those books were recently released under my pen name, Summer Devon.
The Mad Baron: I’d just read a first-hand account of an opium den and I was reminded of the time in college that I watched someone perfectly sane become temporarily insane through the use of recreational drugs. The drugs wore off, she became normal again (thank goodness) and she raced off to take the final she’d missed while wandering around the dormitory, insisting she had lost both her feet. After I read the opium den article, I saw the phrase “the madwoman in the attic” and I thought, hey, why is it always a woman? What if it was a man? And what if it wasn’t real madness but a plot to keep him prisoner? I can’t find the story I read about the opium den, I think it was in an old Harper’s—oh, I love those old Harpers! -- but here’s another good account online. http://catsmeatshop.blogspot.com/2010/11/what-opium-smoking-feels-like.html
The Powder of Love: This was inspired by the autobiography of one of the Victorian age’s most wicked gents. I imagine most of his secret life was manufactured for his own pleasure, but good old Walter has been entertaining, shocking and boring people for more than a century with his book of pornographic adventures. http://www.my-secret-life.com/
I couldn’t finish reading the whole thing—I have no problem with smut, but his long book becomes dreary. There are some wonderful words in there. (And I used those in the book, Someone To Cherish. The wicked list of words that Callie carries into the library contains the slang Walter employed, such as gamahuche for oral sex, and onanism for masturbation and fricatrice for hand job. Callie couldn’t guess what those words meant either.)
Yet Walter did start me thinking about what it would it be like to live with a man who was obsessed with nailing anything that moved and what would happen if such a man got his hands on a genuine aphrodisiac? He’s the basis of the secondary character, Walter Clermont.
The hero is Gideon, hired to keep the randy and reckless goat in line. I figured chasing after a guy like Walter might end up confusing a relatively inexperienced man about lust and desire -- and distrust those sensations when it comes to genuine love. Add an aphrodisiac and how can the hero, Gideon, believe what he’s feeling for Rosalie IS REAL?
At the moment, I’m reading two books, a biography of Diamond Jim Brady and an account of an orphan train. I suppose a few weeks? Months? down the road another story will float to the surface influenced by those books.
The Powder of Love by Summer Devon:
Heiress Rosalie Ambermere doesn’t know why Gideon Reed sits scowling in her sitting room. Or why she finds him so appealing. She’d envisioned her heart falling to a serene gentleman, not to this unpolished, brooding man. And yet she finds Mr. Reed absurdly attractive. Surely her craving for his touch is due to the strange powder she recently inherited from her rakehell cousin. When Gideon offers to help her find a way to dispose of the aphrodisiac, she agrees. Best to be rid of the powder and the man in one fell swoop.
Hired as a keeper, former detective Gideon must follow his oversexed client Walter everywhere, including into lovely ladies’ homes. Reed suspects Miss Ambermere is just another eager chapter in Walter’s endless diary of bedroom conquests. Another hedonistic woman spoiled by inherited wealth, until he learns there’s another draw for Walter -- the powder that could create disaster in the idiot’s hands. He soon understands there is more to the alluring Miss Ambermere than meets the eye; perhaps enough to tempt even his disillusioned heart. Gideon must work with Rosalie to safely dispose of the powder without falling prey to the dangerous effects of pure chemistry.
Soon after Miss Ambermere left the room, Reed gave in to curiosity. He fished through his jacket pocket and pulled out a ring that held keys and other useful items. Really, the desk presented no challenge at all.
Even as he fit the pick into the lock, he wondered why he was doing it. She'd asked him to leave it alone, and he wasn't a thief. This was not the sort of behavior he was used to in himself, and he wondered if perhaps he'd spent too many hours in Clermont's company.
He just wanted to see the powder that had caused her worry. She seemed such a levelheaded woman. He'd wager that a woman who had dealt as efficiently with Clermont as Miss Ambermere had could not be easily rattled. Yet when it came to talking about this “substance,” she paled, almost got the wide-eyed twitchy look of a cornered rabbit. He'd do her a favor, relieve her anxiety. And he looked forward to seeing her grateful smile.
The only thing in the bottom drawer was an object wrapped in newspaper. As he unwrapped it and stared down at the little well-polished box, he felt a frisson of unease. He was not a susceptible man, but perhaps her fear was contagious. Such a small box couldn't be dangerous, but it was so…unusual.
He stroked the wood, cool and silky, and the feel of it thrilled his hand. He pried it open and saw another box inside. Such an urge to bring it to his face, rest his cheek on that slick surface…
No! He had to fight the bizarre desire. He forced himself to push the lid down, drop the box, and shove the drawer closed. His fingers trembled slightly as he relocked the drawer.
Curiosity and longing raged through him. Had the damned thing called to him to break in? Nonsense. It had been an unfortunate impulse of a man who'd spent months holding impulsiveness and animal behavior at bay. The thin screen of civilized behavior was crumbling.
He?d be damned if Clermont won. He'd pick a woman for Reed, he'd said. And watch him fuck her. A woman.
Then the image of her filled his mind. That hair, thick and glossy, down and spread by his fingers. Her skin would be soft and supple, and he'd feel it with every sensitive nerve, now alert with need. His hands, his tongue, his cock—on her.
Reed gasped. He rubbed his face, and that didn't seem to help. He groped for tea and drank the whole scalding cup down.
Jesus, even the pain in his mouth seemed to increase the pleasure—or rather, the longing for pleasure. He didn't have many calluses on his fingers now that he had a soft job, and the warmed, slick porcelain begged him to feel the texture of the rounded curve of the cup, the complex texture of the handle.
Holy mother of God; the chemical was real. And if he didn't do something about his raging erection, he'd never be able to stand up in front of decent people. That part of him begged for release. Her. He wanted her. His cock needed her.
He forced himself to think. Combating sensation and desire so he could think proved almost impossible. He'd bring himself off. That would be the best answer. Once drained—Oh God; unless it was with her, it would never be enough. And why couldn't he touch her? Their bodies were made for this.
They could touch and taste, and he would at last bury himself in a warm, silken woman. Slide over her skin, slide into her, deep. So many women every day paraded in front of him. Naked or in the thinnest of gowns. During his time keeping watch over Clermont, he'd seen so many breasts, hips, curves, backs and bottoms and cunts. Once, and only once, at the start of his job, had he grown so desperate he'd indulged with a woman, and that was months ago. Alone for months. And now the months of deprivation hit him hard—and the one woman he wanted most was just rooms away.
He grew dizzy as he fought back and reminded himself this hunger was only part of him. He was more than need.
The door opened, and she walked in.
He closed his eyes. He'd cheated—badly—by touching that box, and perhaps by not believing her story. And now he'd pay a price by surviving this visit without betraying symptoms. He must treat her with respect. That did not include ripping off her clothing, flinging her across the top of the desk, and driving into her. Or even picturing that possibility. But no, now that picture of her panting, naked, under him, was lodged in him, brain and body.
“Are you unwell, Mr. Reed? You look slightly flushed.”
He'd have to open his eyes and see her in the flesh. See her skin, her pink and lovely face, neck, and those delicate hands that had been so surprisingly powerful in his, returning his grip. Her skin, but not enough of it. Why did women wear so many layers of useless clothing? “I'm fine,” he croaked. “Erm. Your companion. She is well?”
Miss Renshaw had been made ill by the box, Miss Ambermere had said in passing, and now he knew the companion had touched the box too, perhaps even done more. Dear Lord, he was torn between pity for her and the desire to collapse with laughter at the thought of the poor woman, helpless in the grip of unabated hunger. Unabated, perhaps. The image of her naked, out of control and in heat with some man intrigued him—the powder had control of all Reed's responses. But that image didn't seem to add to the bottomless, howling need that flowed through his body.
Miss Ambermere's voice, low and musical, was what stoked that need. “I don't believe you?re listening. I asked if you thought any of these men were more qualified than the others.”
After a moment, he comprehended the meaning of her words and looked at the list of scientists rather than at her. The sight of her seated at the far side of the big desk might prove too much. The focus of all his body's cravings so close to him. He pulled in a deep breath and managed to draw his mind back from the flood of need. This was important. “I didn't take the time to study their qualifications, I'm afraid.”
And then he knew he had to confess—some of the truth, at any rate. “I didn't truly understand. I didn't know…” His hoarse voice trailed off.
“Ah. Mr. Reed?”
His name in her mouth sent him close to the edge. He'd give in to the urge to look at her because perhaps she was calling him, asking him to go to her at last. He fisted his hands to stop from lunging. “Hmm?” He managed something like a growl.
“You understand now? What has changed?” She gave him a sharp glare, and unbelievably, she stood and swayed toward him. Yes, come to me now, he wanted to shout. He had to take his lip between his teeth and bite down hard to stop himself from spreading his arms to invite her embrace. He had to look away.
Skirts rustling, closer, but then she stopped short of his chair, at the desk.
So near him, her back slightly to him. Those curves. He could reach out now. Touch her. Seize her. How would it be to shove up that dress, find that useless bustle, throw it away, and sink into her from behind. At last. Would her skin be cool against his heated body? Not cool inside. The heat deep inside her, her cunny, her cunt, her sweet womanly parts. And the tender flesh of her inner thighs, invisible under that dratted, thick cloth.
Her curls bounced as she rattled the desk. Yes, that's how they'd bounce when he'd thrust—
“The drawer is still locked.” She turned to face him.
He was having trouble catching his breath, and her steady gaze, fixed on him, didn't help. “I don't understand,” she said in a faltering voice. Her cheeks reddened as she looked into his face.
Maybe she caught sight of the fierce, barely controlled hunger raging in him. More likely she was embarrassed by what she thought was her own false accusation. Her pink cheeks set off the brightness of her eyes.
He held back the cry of let me teach you to understand.
Instead he dug into his jacket pocket and wordlessly held out the ring of keys. Their fingers didn't meet as she took them, but he swore he could feel the heat of her hand. That first day they'd touched, a simple, firm handshake had shaken him, all right. With this woman so near, he could hear the susurration of her breath, see the texture of her fine skin; his erection grew so thick and painful, the slightest motion might bring him off. He knew his linens were damp with the eager cock's prespending.
She swallowed. He watched the delicate motion of her throat. Could almost feel the pulse there too. She shook the keys until they jangled. “You're telling me you did open the drawer?”
“Did…? No, no. Did you open the box?”
“A bit. Wanted to do more.” His voice was hoarse. “But I managed to stop.”
The stiff set of her shoulders relaxed slightly, but her breasts remained high and lovely. He should not be staring at her bosom, imagining how it would fill his hands and how the nipples would feel between his fingers, in his mouth, under his tongue…
She put the keys on the desk rather than hand them to him. Good. If her hand came near him, he'd grab it, pull her down onto his lap, onto his aching cock. His mouth on those breasts at long—
“Now you believe me. And if you didn't open the horrible thing, well, then you're not going to…ah…you're not so badly influenced.” Her breasts rose and fell with her breath.
He inhaled and—God, he could smell her. Sweet Miss Ambermere. Another discreet sniff, and he drew in the musk of her, the delicious scent of her skin, hair—and her. He'd put his face in her hair, just at her temple, in the crook of her neck, at her bosom, between her legs, and draw in full breaths of her. Sustaining lungs full of her essence.
He clenched his hands tighter, dug his nails into his palms.
“Bad enough,” he said. He couldn't allow himself to move, not until he had more control.
She went to her chair—thank God out of his reach—but, blast and damn, far too distant from him. He couldn't smell her or see the subtle motions of her body as she breathed or hear the light rasp of her gown.
But he could see her eyes were bright. With amusement?
The lust twisted inside him and grew dangerous. He would show her what “bad enough” meant. No, he?d demonstrate how good it could be. That laughter in her eyes would turn into alarm, but then melt into sweet, helpless longing. He'd touch her with his hands and mouth until she begged him. Screamed for him.
He was as bad as — no, he was worse than Clermont.
She was speaking again, still in a light, smiling voice, as if they were having a real conversation. Chitchatting. “It is terrible. When I touched the box, all I wanted was to undo my stays and—”
“God. Stop.” He moaned. “I am managing to contain myself, Miss Ambermere, but it is requiring effort on my part.”
Her eyes widened, and her mouth—that delightful mouth—opened slightly. “Oh,” she said faintly. “Do you mean I'm the object of your—”
“Yes.” He hissed the word explosively, as if it could offer the release he needed.
“When I touched the box, I was in the room with Mr. Dorsey, you see, and never felt the slightest interest in him, but—Never mind,” she spoke hastily. “I wonder what we should do for you.”
Kate is offering to one lucky winner a choice of ebooks, either The Powder of Love, The Mad Baron or Someone to Cherish. To enter her contest, tell us what you think the heroine in the excerpt above should do for poor Gideon :). Or comment on her post in some other way. Kate's contest will close at midnight tonight, at her winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.