Explicit Bisexual M/M/F Menage Erotic Romance Novel in Progress: “Tangled Hearts”

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I am working on a new project, which I am using NaNoWriMo to jump start. My novel is an erotic romance with very explicit subject matter. The story focuses on a male couple and their decision to take a third partner into their relationship who is female.

This novel in progress contains explicit adult material, gay and bisexual sex, threesomes and some kink. It should be read by adults only.

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Dr. Ivy Croften is a conservator of art and antiquities at the Baltimore Museum Of Arts. Ivy has always followed the rules, always walked a very careful line in an effort to avoid the mistakes she has witnessed women make in their lives. She does not want to give up her career for a man, her independence for the promise of love, and her sense of self for society’s idea of what she SHOULD do. She has made her way alone, afraid to let anyone else in. At 27, Ivy is a prodigy in her industry, a well respected artist and art restoration expert. But when she is hired to travel to a highland castle estate in Scotland and restore panels of elaborate 17th century woodwork by the artist Grinling Gibbons, Ivy discovers she is not immune to romance, sex and maybe even love…

Lord Malcolm Lachlan inherited the his title and the estate of Castle Invergaren three years ago, when his father died. Malcolm left home at age seventeen when his stern and unyielding father discovered Malcolm was with another man. Exiled from his family, Malcolm made his own way in life, without the fortune or the glamor of the family estate. Malcolm started his own business, building custom boats and creating beautiful works of art and craftsmanship. He fell in love with the man of his dreams and for the first time in a long while, he felt happy. But when his father Lord James Lachlan was diagnosed with cancer, Malcolm is called in to take over the family estate and to save his family, he returns to Castle Invergaren and takes up his role as Lord of the manor. His life is different, but his partner is beside him. He doesn’t expect to fall in love again, until SHE arrives…

Callum MacGregor never subscribed to the idea of “normal” and still doesn’t. An architect, he has designed works of art all over the UK and his career is at its peak. Moving his business and his life from the capitol city of Edinburgh to the remote Castle Invergaren is a risk, but for Lord Malcolm Lachlan he would do anything. Together, they have saved Malcolm’s family heritage from collapsing into ruin and patched together the remnants of a family that was tormented by the late Lord James Lachlan, Malcolm’s father. Callum is a free spirit and he will never be broken. He gives everything he is to the one he loves, and so when the lovely Dr. Croften arrives, he cannot stop himself from loving her, and he has no intention of trying…

To read “Tangled Hearts” – check out each chapter in the links below and check here for new and frequent updates. (I usually have an update every couple of days)
I love hearing feedback, so please comment and share if you like the story)

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four

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RATED- ADULT – I write DIRTY BOOKS.

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I will keep this simple. I write adult books. I write erotica. I write explicit sex scenes meant for adults only. Great, now we got that out of the way.

Now you should know, I do NOT write suburban housewife porn. I write dangerous erotica. I write about BDSM without the “BDSM community” guidelines. I write about obsession and going to dark places in the mind. So, don’t expect role models. Don’t expect blushing virgins. Don’t expect heroes to be the perfect guy who saves the girl from her hard bitten life. I write about people who break rules and other people who never cared about the rules to begin with.

WHAT YOU WILL NOT FIND HERE:
I DON’T write about incest, rape, animal or kid-fucking or any of the really gross shit.

My friend interviewed me for an arts and entertainment journalism assignment…

PJ KINSTON INTERVIEWS EROTICA AUTHOR ROWAN DARKLEE…

PJ: When did you start writing?

RD: I started writing short stories in more mainstream genres when I was twelve or thirteen. I spent my teen years in foster homes so writing was something I could do that was insular and cerebral. I started writing erotica in my late early teens, but it was a teen view of sexy, not a very good one. I remember in junior high getting caught with a particularly sexy Harlequin novel and being sent to the principal’s office.

PJ: Do you think that writing helped you get through the traumas you suffered as a child?

RD: Absolutely. It was the thing that saved me. I could escape into a world I created on my own.

PJ: What are the signiture elements in most of your stories?

RD: Castles tend to be featured a lot in my work. Not all the time, but often. I think that playing around with gender roles is something I almost always do. I like featuring bisexual men and women because there is not a lot of that out there and I am bisexual myself. Travel is always an element.

PJ: Does your family know you write erotica?

RD: My husband certainly does. He beta reads all my work, even the gay stuff. Some of my inlaws know but in a vague kind of way. They know I write “sexy stuff” and “blue novels” but they have never read any of it.

PJ: Do you keep what you do a secret?

RD: I would say I am discrete, but not secretive about it. I don’t hand out copies of my work to friends and family but I don’t hide what I do either. I definitely have friends who know I write very explicit things. When I meet new people and they ask what I do, I often (but not always) say I “write dirty books.”

PJ: Do you get a lot of judgement from people for that?

RD: Actually, no. Most people ask where they can read some of it. Others just nod and say, ‘yeah, OK, cool.’ I’ve never had someone flip out about it or say I am doing something wrong. I think times are changing and people are more open minded about sex now. I used to keep it a tight secret but now I have loosened up and care a lot less what people think.

PJ: Why do you write so much male/male in your work?

RD: Because it’s hot. Also, I like writing gay men who are in equal partnerships. That isn’t done often. A lot of gay romances (usually written by women) feminize or weaken one character, usually the younger one, to make an unbalanced partnership. Or they go the other way and both the men are alphas. My goal is to write men who are multi-faceted. Men who have strengths and weaknesses and don’t bend to the broken/damaged precious one image, or the strictly alpha one. I hope I am doing that. I don’t know.

PJ: What are your favorite kinds of women to write?

RD: Again, I try to avoid the female stereotypes of the perfect woman, the blushing virgin or the whore. Most women don’t fit into any of those categories. I like making independent female characters without making them ass kicking Buffy The Vampire Slayer types. I think women, like all humans, have weaknesses and strengths and that they should be written with both in mind. I don’t like female characters who never make mistakes. Sometimes, people fall for the wrong person. Sometimes people are messed up. That’s just being human, not necessarily female.

PJ: Do you feel that you write ‘feminist erotica?’

RD: I try to put female characters on the same emotional and success level as men. I don’t know if that makes it feminist. I am not aiming for that. My work involves a lot of BDSM encounters which some people might think un-feminist. I have never labeled my work feminist and I am not sure if the label applies. I guess others would have to decide that based on their personal definition of feminism.

PJ: What do you think of Fifty Shades Of Gray?

RD: It was not my thing, but it was a nice read. It was pretty tame actually. It was kink-light. I don’t think it deserves the backlash it often gets. It is a modern, kind of simple story with some light kink in it. People reacted to the controlling element of Christian Grey, but a lot of women have fantasies about that, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with fantisizing.

PJ: Do you think that the Fifty Shades series effects women’s view of healthy relationships?

RD: No, I don’t. I strongly feel that it doesn’t. Women have fantasies at all points of the spectrum. I think it is wrong and very unfeminist to police women’s fantasies. it’s like saying that women are too stupid to differentiate between fantasy and reality, which seems a pretty low opinion of women to me. I don’t think that women are entering into abusive relationships because they read Fifty Shades Of Grey.

PJ: Do you research the BDSM lifestyle a lot for your stories?

RD: Not really. A lot of my friends are self styled “kinksters” and I get a lot of information from them by friendly osmosis. None of my characters are “in the BDSM community.” They have their own kind of thing going on. I keep it safe and sane most of the time. When I am writing romance, I keep it safe and sane. When it is about love. When it is a thriller, I depart from that because the danger is part of the element of thrill. Look at ‘Last Tango In Paris’ and ‘Fatal Attraction’ and that’s what I go for in thrillers. Though I’ve never had a character go to bunny boiler levels. I think that when you’re writing, you’re telling a story, not a morality lesson.

PJ: Do you engage in any of the acts that your characters do?

RD: Nope. I am boring and vanilla. I tried to be kinky for a while but I never have the energy. By the time someone ties me up, I’m like, ‘I dunno, why don’t we just watch Game Of Thrones or something.’

PJ: Does writing ever turn you on?

RD: Yeah, sure. I sometimes write a scene and then go and jump my awesome husband. It’s boring married people sex, but it’s good. We’re both happy.

PJ: What is the most difficult thing about writing?

RD: The publishing part. I self publish, and I think the act of self promotion is tacky, so I am naturally the antithesis of a good publisher.

PJ: Do you think that gay erotica and gay romances hypersexualize or fetishize gay men?

RD: I think erotica fetishizes everybody, doesn’t it?

PJ: What has influenced you the most and inspired your writing?

RD: Travel. I travel a lot. I have been an expat in four countries and I often take off and stay somewhere for a month or two for no reason other than I can. I am currently in Edinburgh, Scotland for three months, writing a book. Exotic locations show up often in my work.

PJ: A lot of writers have a theme of wealthy men. It is it’s own category now. I notice that you have wealthy men in your work, but they seem a bit different than the usual billionaire stuff.

RD: I have never written a billionaire story, just because I can’t imagine having that kind of money. I write people with wealth often because wealth provides opportunities to write a kind of fantasy world based in some level of reality. My rich guys are different because they don’t lead charmed lives. They have debts, bills, problems and they aren’t balling out like crazy. I don’t really find that sexy. Maybe I am boring, but I like a man with a savings account that knows how to use it.

PJ: Do you write women with wealth?

RD: Not as often as the men, and I just realized that. I should write more wealthy high profile women. I think I like the ‘Alice down the rabbit hole’ kind of thing, and that is easier to write when you take a character from rags to riches, like they are experiencing something new. But yeah, I should write more female CEOs. I have some male/male stuff that does the same thing.

PJ: Do you consider your stories ‘over the top?’

RD: Absolutely. I love castles, vampires, magical powers, exotic locations, fast paced car chases… the works. I also like smart, down to earth too. But yeah, I love over the top. It is a fantasy escape.

PJ: What is your ultimate goal with your writing career?

RD: I don’t think I have a career yet. What I want to do is write sexy, interesting stories that readers enjoy. I’m not trying to write a great piece of literature. I just want it to be good, fun, sexy, entertaining. I am not trying to be Hemmingway. I would love to be known for sexy, trashy airport books. I’d like to make a little money now and then. That’s a bonus. I want a good back catelog and repeat readers. If readers say, ‘yeah, this author writes fun steamy stuff that doesn’t suck’ that makes me happy.

Tangled Hearts: Chapter Four

IVY

Rain had begun to drizzle outside and Ivy let a sigh escape her lips, pleased that they were able to unload the supplies before the rain came down. She heard the moving crew leave. She was alone with Callum MacGregor, who slinked around the room, looking at everything and examining all of her boxed up equipment.

“What is this one?” he asked, his startlingly blue eyes glimmering in the low light of the ballroom.

“A heat lamp. I need to dry the water damaged pieces.”

He slid a finger over a canvas covered lump of metal.

“And this one?”

“A microscope. A very large microscope. For finding woodworms in the carvings.”

“Ah, I see.” Eyes the color of suburban swimming pools. He was breathtakingly gorgeous. That seemed the right word for him. Gorgeous. Handsome was too simple and old fashioned. Beautiful was too soft. Sexy was too simple, though he certainly had that in spades. “Your restoration studio is coming along well.”

“Hmm,” she put her hands on her hips, looking around the room. “A couple of items are missing.”

She looked at her iPad and scrolled down, looking at the inventory list. Yes, two important pieces of equipment had not come through.

“Can you do without them?” Callum asked.

“No, I’m afraid not.”

The sound of the huge double doors opening with a heavy thud made them both turn. Lord Malcolm Lachlan filled more of the door frame than any normal human being should. That smoldering charisma immediately filled the room, as big as the grand ballroom was.

“Cal, I thought I might find you here. Hello Dr. Croften.”

“Just Ivy, please.”

“Ivy. I see your laboratory is on its way to a good start.”

“Actually, I just discovered that two of my items didn’t arrive, and here…” she indicated her iPad. “I have an email from my colleague in Naples that states that those items have been loaned out to someone else. I may have to go to the Barrett estate and see about borrowing some things.”

“John and Theresa Barrett in Glasgow?” Malcolm asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes. They have an on site conservatory. Do you think I could have use of the supply van to go to Glasgow?”

Malcolm’s massive chest heaved as he took a deep breath.

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Tangled Hearts: Chapter Three

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MALCOLM

The wind was tossing up outside and he watched with his usual pang of worry as Emma got into Louise Melkin’s little blue American car. The winding drive along the loch was a knuckle biting one and though Louise had done it a hundred times before, he worried about Emma and her nanny on the drive up to Nairn. Emma waved goodbye to him from the car window and he wished he had been able to spend the full weekend with her, but business in Glasgow was becoming complicated without his constant attention and he needed to make sure the workshop was running at the highest quality level. Running his family’s castle estate had never been part of his plan and the sudden need to do so had changed the course of his life and Callum’s too. Malcolm wanted a simple life. He wanted to build boats, to sail and to spend his time with Callum, the way he had done for years. When they became serious about each other six years ago, they got a flat together in the Haymarket district of Edinburgh. Malcolm agreed to commute every day from Glasgow, simply because Edinburgh was nicer than Glasgow. The drive was not that long. When Malcolm was called to take up his duty to his family estate, they both risked everything to move to the highlands. It was worth it to be closer to Emma and to his mother. Emma could come for a weekend now and then and they could go up to the country house in Nairn and spend time with her. Callum’s family was in Aberdeen, so the castle was closer to them. At least that was something.

When the car was out of sight, Malcolm pulled his collar up to keep the biting wind off of his neck, and headed out to the East wing. The restoration artist would surely be awake already. He saw a figure in an arched window. The flash of a camera. Probably one of the stuffy academics from the Historical Preservation Society’s American chapter. He made his way down the long corridor of the East wing, stepping over stone rubble and the remnants of the section that had not been fully restored yet. He constantly worried about Emma getting into that section of the castle. The East wing was a crumbling remnant of the past and required the most reconstruction. Work crews were often at the castle, working on preserving the grand old section that had stood for five centuries. The rest of the castle had been restored in the Victorian era and then modernized in the 1980’s when Malcolm was a child, but the East wing had been left to a haunting kind of dilapidation. Stones frequently fell from the ceiling, letting patches of dappled light fall in scattered patterns over the moss that grown on the damp stones of the floor. There was a section of floor that was still wood, but the wood was rotting and it was easy enough to break an ankle falling through the soft wood that would break like the shell of a boiled egg. Workmen left tools; crowbars, broken drill bits, nails and rusted bits of metal scattered around. Malcolm and Callum always worried about Emma getting curious and wanting to explore the ruin for inspiration for one of her goblins and elves stories she wrote.

He pecked his way around the debris and saw the figure of a woman with a camera, photographing the details of the architecture that was left, the magnificent details that still graced the walls but had begun to rot away. Cherubs and winged devils carved in wood panels on the walls, done by a student of Gibbens centuries ago. The panels, tragically had been left to the elements. His father had taken little interest in preserving the castle’s more fragile sections or the rich and beautiful art that graced its walls. His mother had not always been the independent woman she was now. In the early days, she had bent to the will of James Lachlan and had been too intimidated to ask for the money for restoration of the fantastic wooden panels, so they had weakened and bits had broken away. The wing of a flying serpent, the extended arm of a wailing angel. Moss obscuring the faces of saints depicted in suspended glory at the top of the panels that hovered above the windows that once housed stained glass. It was a shame that it had gotten so bad, but art historians he spoke to claimed Robert Saskin was the best in his field. Despite the high cost, Malcolm sent for him. The 1.2 million pound cottage sales would have to pay for the restoration costs and the project would take months.

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Tangled Hearts: Chapter Two

CALLUM

Callum ruffled Emma’s hair as they started down the stairs toward the kitchen.

“I think that’s enough playing around for today, Princess. You’ve got school work to catch up on.”

In the kitchen, Louise Melkin smiled and beckoned Emma to join her at the little table with a pot of tea and a plate of sandwiches. The cook, Mrs. Parsons was taking a tray of fresh shortbread out of the auger and chattering about a local meeting of the Highland Quilters Club. She was most passionate about her quilting and would throw her hands around wildly when she really got going on the subject. Callum smiled when he saw Emma’s nanny, Louise silently begging for him to save her from further education about the subject.

“Hello ladies. Mrs. Parsons, I hope you had a lovely weekend.” He pecked her on the cheek and saw the plump fifty-nine year old blush the same salmon pink as her apron, as she always did when he planted a smooch on her cheek. She sliced the shortbread and he reached around her to distract her long enough to pluck one off the tray. She caught him and batted his hand away.

“You grab one more of those before they’re ready and I’ll ‘ave your head.”

He gave her a wiggle of his eyebrows and she sighed with exasperation, then shot him a charmed smile as she always did. She was easy enough to charm. She had been working at the castle since long before Callum had arrived six years ago. She had cooked for Malcolm’s family when Malcolm was a child and so had her mother before her. Louise had never lived at the castle, but  began caring for Emma when Emma and Emma’s mother, Lady Catherine moved out of the castle years ago. Malcolm had helped his mother find a good nanny for Emma. The girl required a lot of supervision, and Louise Melkin specialized in caring for children on the autism spectrum. Malcolm’s mother now lived in a country house in Nairn with Emma and the nanny, Louise. Callum plucked another piece of shortbread, and then another, then made a show of ducking to escape Mrs. Parsons’ wrath before handing the steaming hot shortbread to Louise and Emma.

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Tangled Hearts: Chapter One

IVY

The cool glass of the window rattled against Ivy Croften’s temple as the train curved through the Scottish highlands toward Inverness. After a twenty hour trip through airports and a sleepless night in Glasgow, Ivy had seen nothing of Scotland but a hotel room and the darkness outside the train. It felt surreal, to be barreling through the highlands with no view of the outside world. She cursed herself for choosing a night train but it was cheaper and she was saving every penny she could. Opening her own studio would cost far more than her salary at Saskin & Hughs Restoration paid and she needed every penny to cover that cost when she went back to Baltimore.

It was her work on the Jeselnik House in Baltimore that earned her the Castle Invergaren project. Ivy restored historic woodwork as well as created her own sculptures and panels in the style of Grinling Gibbons. She worked under the watchful eye of Robert Saskin since her first year of college at St. Julia Women’s College. Robert was the best in his field; historically accurate restoration of architectural sculpture. There were only a handful of people in the world that could do what Robert did, but Robert was approaching the delicate age of seventy-five and arthritis plagued his hands for a decade. He took on apprentices, but claimed that Ivy was the one he would eventually leave his artistic legacy with. Ivy believed him. She was often shy with social situations but she was confident in her work. She was the best, and she strived to be even better.

Robert became more than a mentor. He was a father figure to her, a venerated and elegant relic of a bygone era. She was stunned and grateful that he recommended her for the Castle Invergaren project in Scotland. The intricate woodwork of the 600 year old castle needed to be restored toits former glory. At the age of twenty-six, Ivy was the youngest of Robert’s team, and she would lead a team of conservators in Scotland in the restoration of dozens of wood panels in the castle. The decision was a controversial one among Robert’s team. Ivy was the only woman on the restoration team and most of the men did not feel comfortable with the choice of a female, and one so young.

The master of the house, Lord Malcomn Lachlan was said to be a stern and quiet man. Robert Saskin had met him while doing lectures at Oxford. Ivy had no experience with stuffy old world nobility and did not look forward to working under the thumb of a man with a reputation for being a cutthroat businessman and somewhat of a recluse. The project would take months. Her life would be consumed by art. She pressed her cheek to the cool glass of the window and tried to focus on that rather than the possibility of dreadful personalities.

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Chapter One: “Marked” (m/m novel of submission)

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I started playing with the idea of a gay male/male erotic novel – this first chapter is the result. I plan to continue when I am done with Alice.

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The train was loading and we pounded the pavement, desperately trying to catch up in time to be on the 8:45am to Karlovy Vary. It was my fault. I slept in. Danny ran ahead to see if he could stall the train in time for Kate and I to catch up. No luck there. He reached the platform just as the doors closed and the ticket master shook his head through the window. He shrugged off his backpack and set it down for a moment, rubbing his shoulders.

“Should we just take the next one?” Kate asked, her silvery voice shaken and out of breath from running.

“No. We got a fine the last time we did that and I can’t afford another 1200 Kronur.” Danny winced as he rubbed a knot out of his shoulder.

1200 Kronur was around fifty dollars and we were all on shoestring budgets, having saved what we could for a Summer backpacking around Europe. We were only six days in and already we had spent more of our meager budget than we could afford. Kate stepped away to examine the ticket booth and see if there was any way to patch up this latest botch on our scheduled plans, and Danny lowered his voice to a whisper.

“Hey, I was gonna surprise Kate with something today. Look,” Danny turned out his coat pocket to reveal a sparkling engagement ring.

“Oh shit, Danny, that’s fantastic. I am so sorry I was slow this morning.”

“It’s OK. Really. I am going to take her up to Prague Castle and propose. It’s just… um…”

“You want some privacy.” I said.

“Yeah, if you don’t mind.”

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Ugh, MS Word

The industry standard for publishing is Microsoft Word. I despise MS products and don’t have any in my house. This is not an uneducated dislike. My husband is a guru level programmer with a company employing 12 guru level coders who all hate MS. Here is why:

Here is an example of the MicroSoft bloat that happens when someone copies text from a Word Document into anything else that tries to maintain their formatting.

This person tried to copy the word ‘Me’ with a font size of 10.  Here’s what MicroSoft code was sent:

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In Defense Of 50 Shades

I read the first two books. I didn’t care for them. I don’t think they were terrible. They were just not great and pretty vanilla for a book about kink. That being said, I object to the so called “feminists” who are ranting about rape and abuse in the story. There is NO rape in 50 Shades. The woman consents to all sexual activity in the book. She gives her consent. The dominant even has a written contract so that she understands what she is getting into and tells her to stop at any time. She can walk away at any time.

A big part of the backlash is people claiming that the books will cause women to covet controlling and abusive relationships.

OK, so basically they are saying that women are so fucking collectively stupid and weak minded that they cannot discern reality from fantasy. They are saying that women cannot have dark fantasies, that it makes them victims. That women who have these fantasies are somehow broken and unworthy.

50 Shades has been loosely compared to Anne Rice’s Beauty Trilogy. Fans of Anne Rice (I am a huge Anne Rice fan) on her Facebook page are bashing the 50 Shades books, while praising the Beauty books. OK, a little breakdown for them and their frighteningly selective memory:

1. In The Claiming Of Sleeping Beauty, the Prince wakes Beauty from a many year slumber and immediately owns her.

2. She is paraded naked in public, whipped on a merry go round in a slave market, and SOLD to an innkeeper.

3. She is FORCED to be a servant in a village full of sexual sadists.

4. Did the tampon scene in 50 Shades freak you out? Well, in Beauty’s Punishment, the innkeeper puts butter on Beauty’s vagina and has a cat lick it off. Nothing like a little beastiality to conveniently forget when one is being on one’s high horse.

5. A woman is chained to the ceiling, hanging in a spread eagle position. Honey is spread over her vagina to attract flies. How easily that bit of fun is forgotten among the most superior of erotica readers.

6. Beauty is given an enema to “clean her out” for sexual servitude.

7. Sex slaves are dressed as “ponies” for pony play and FORCED to pull carriages.

8. Beauty is made to play a game that involves gathering fruit and stuffing it in her vagina.

9. Beauty is “given” to the captain of the guard and his men to pass around until they are finished with her.

10. In Book Three, Beauty and her friends are CAPTURED by slavers and taken to a harem where they are owned and used by a sultan.

11. Beauty is tied to a statue that has an erect phallus that she is impaled on and kept there to be an ornament for the Sultan’s guests.

12. Beauty cries a lot. So do her sex slave friends. Not exactly perfect consent.

The Beauty books are fairy tale. They are fantasy that pushes the limits and makes you feel funny in your pants. 50 Shades is essentially the same damned thing. Women are perfectly capable of having fantasies without applying them to their daily lives.

Women are not dumb little idiots that need your protection. A book is a book. Fiction. Let women enjoy their fantasies and quit getting in their faces about it to make you feel superior.

I am writing a book that is darker than 50 Shades ever thought about being. A fantasy. I hope women enjoy it for what it is.