Today is March 14th, which means Happy 55th Birthday Uncle Reggie!! I lost him in 2000, way too early, and he was loud, proud, and out. And I hope that what I write makes him proud.
Moving along, my critique partner—January George, also in this anthology—forced me to submit something. Something far outside my wheelhouse, and which creates issues today that have shifted since I first started reading romance, more years ago than I will admit.
I grew up on historical romances. The Johanna Lindsays and Eloisa Jameses were my literary catnip. Pirates and kidnapping were common, but the sex scenes were often—yeesh. Today, consent is actively shown on the page, and we’re better for it. One book I have, its pages yellowed, the last two ripped off and shoved in, I’ve read it so much, has a positively cringe-worthy first sex scene. Not by either of the above authors, mind you. But I shudder wondering whether to keep it, if only to show how far we’ve come.
I think it’s a real testament to how frequently we see active, enthusiastic consent in romance now, that including it, even in a short story, is a no-brainer. I hope that I hit the mark with Connor and Anders in this story, and I set myself up to need some follow-ups to their story. Enjoy my boys, and check below for an Amazon gift card giveaway.
Excerpt from “Plunder”
A hardened mercenary, contracted to kill the heir-apparent of an international corporation, hesitates due to his attraction, then joins with the heir to investigate who wants him dead
“I’m not going anywhere with you. I’d rather die first.” He was pale and shaking, and his voice wobbled, but Connor gave him credit. That had taken balls to say.
Still, Connor shook his head and rolled his eyes. “So dramatic.” He swooped down and hoisted him over his own shoulder, then stepped onto the plank and started walking.
“No, no, wait,” he said, wriggling. “I can walk. Oh God, please, let me down.”
“Too late. I gave you a chance, and this is how you wanted to play it.” Connor was enjoying himself, and he especially enjoyed how good it felt when the man gripped the back of his pants and held on for dear life.
Connor let out a deep breath when he landed on his own boat. He didn’t put the man down but headed straight to his room, less than half the size of his ransom’s, but comfort washed over him here. He tossed the boy in an undignified heap on the small cot in the corner and was rewarded with a dark scowl.
“Now what?” the younger man asked, his voice a cross between indignant and petulant. “Are you going to ravage me, or hand me off to your crew to pass around?”
Connor raised a brow. This guy had been reading too many old love stories. “Which would you prefer? For me to take you, or to keep my men company? Or,” he paused and crossed the room to his own bed, waiting until the other man began to fidget, “would you prefer to stay here until the ransom is paid like everyone before you?”
The guy flushed scarlet and chewed his lower lip, plucking at a bit of the blanket.
Oh. Part of him had wanted to be ravaged. Interesting.
Rules, Connor! His brain screamed not to let this pipsqueak make him break them
Now, I also like—love—giveaways, so I’m giving away a $20 Amazon gift card along with this. Also you have to do is comment below with the first romance that drew you into the genre, and like my Facebook page. It’ll run for a week and I’ll pick a random winner. Good luck!