Can you remember when you fell in love with your favorite trope? Think back. Maybe way back. Was there a movie or a book that just clicked something on inside your brain, and now, if you ever see a premise in that vein, it’s nearly impossible to deny its seductive pull?
I’ve always been a sucker for a heroine in disguise, whether she’s trying to gain hidden knowledge, or ensure her own survival. To me, a woman dressing as a man is the most delicious disguise in fiction because the ruse can only go on for so long. A bomb is ticking, set to detonate when her shirt comes off.
Steamy contemporary romance is my standard forte, which doesn’t lend itself to my favorite flavor of subterfuge as easily as other subgenres of romance. Thanks to the creative freedom encouraged in the Pirate’s call, however, I wrote a disguise driven historical erotic romance that takes place in an alternate universe, inspired by Yentl as much as The Princess Bride—kudos to anyone who knows the real-life connection between those two movies. Let’s just say watching them both before I hit double digits probably has a lot to do with why I write about love and sex.
In my contribution to the anthology, “Perinacht”, scars may grace my heroine’s skin, but she isn’t broken. Commanding an unsuspecting crew of pirates, she’s a survivor who rules with a vicious tongue and a rough hand. When a spice merchant’s son arrives to exact revenge for the death of his beloved, the countdown begins…
Excerpt from “Perinacht”
“Has no one taught you women are nothing more than trinkets?” Ilya asked.
“Vesta was not a trinket,” Marcus growled.
“Vesta? The raven girl we took from the spice ship?” the man who’d hit him earlier asked.
Ilya smiled. “Ah yes, the raven girl. I remember her well. Such luscious tits. She was a real beauty.”
“Bet she was never quite so beautiful as when she had your cock in her mouth,” the taller man said as he elbowed Ilya in the side.
Marcus saw a glint in Ilya’s eyes, and nausea slid like writhing serpents in his guts. For a second he couldn’t see, the edges of his vision fogging as a burning sensation pulsated in his chest. “You bastard—”
Ilya’s fist connected with Marcus’s cheek, and his vision blurred further. As he blinked and spit the copper from his mouth, he stilled at Ilya’s queer expression.
“Enough,” Ilya shouted in Marcus’s face before turning to the two men. “It’s time you go. There are things I must attend to.” The grit in his voice sent the men all but scrambling for the door.
“Do you need—”
Ilya strode across the room, brandishing the stick in his hand. “Go! Ensure the men don’t drink all the spirits. We still have another full day of travel before we make landfall if Selvin is correct. I will need nothing more tonight.”
He ushered them out the door, engaging the rudimentary lock, he pulled his hat off and tossed it across the room. Ilya continued to face the door as the sound of their steps faded.
Marcus slipped from his loosened bindings, the soft creak of the ship covering his quick footfalls.
“Tell me, did you love this girl?” Ilya asked.
Marcus’s hand seized the back of the captain’s neck and shoved his kerchiefed face against the rough-hewn door. Ilya didn’t scream. Marcus doubted the bastard possessed the necessary breath. Still, the pirate fought to pry his grip from his scrawny neck, his frantic fingers powerless against Marcus’s solid, unyielding hold.
“Yes, I loved her, you little fuck,” Marcus rasped with abusive intimacy in Ilya’s ear.
For all the cruel stories he’d heard of the man, Ilya was no match for his strength. Harder still he pressed Ilya’s kerchiefed face against the wood, as he splayed his other hand against the door. He’d waited for this moment, craved it with all that remained of his soul. But it would be too merciful to break his neck, too peaceful to merely rob him of air.
Ilya’s grip fell from his hand, and suddenly buttons were skittering across the floor. Then he was pressing his back into Marcus’s chest. Ilya’s shoulders jerked down with repeated desperate movements.
“What have you got? A knife?” Marcus bit out as he tightened his hold.
Ilya drew still, then grabbed Marcus’s hand and wrenched it from the wall.
“You little bastard, don’t you—” his thoughts broke in two as his captured hand met soft rounded flesh. He jerked away, taking a brisk step back as though he’d been branded by the contact of flesh on flesh. He’d encountered his share of the unexpected ever since he’d left Keldon Bay, but nothing had prepared him for this discovery. By the Graces, Ilya Cortez was a woman.
About Lana Sloan
Lana Sloan fell in love with romance on the floor of a thrift shop book room. Since then, everything she enjoys writing centers around love—and sex. Whenever she can find the time, she takes pleasure in reading, hiking, gardening, and perusing antique stores for mid-century modern finds—all while chugging down copious amounts of coffee. She resides in Southern California with her geeky husband, kids, and a menagerie which includes far too many cats.