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Safer Sex in Fiction

Since I started writing erotica and erotic romance nearly a decade ago, I’ve repeatedly seen debates about safer sex practices in that type of fiction. Some say that the stories are fiction, or fantasies, and including condoms or dental dams or any other type of barrier or birth control takes the reader out of the moment. Others say that as authors, it’s part of our responsibility to educate our readers, and that includes making sure readers know safer sex practices are important, sometimes literally a matter of life and death.

My personal opinion is somewhere in the middle. I disagree that including safer sex practices in fiction pulls the reader out of the story. When I read fiction, especially contemporary erotica or erotic romance, I’m pulled out of the story if the author *doesn’t* include safer sex practices, or at least have the characters mention them. At the same time, as an author, I don’t think it’s my responsibility to “educate”; it’s my responsibility to entertain by portraying realistic situations (inasmuch as things like werewolves and vengeance demons can be realistic…)

In all of my fiction that includes sex, whether explicit or off the page (which is more my young adult stuff than my romances), I at least mention safer sex. Sometimes the characters decide not to use it. In my male/male novel Lost Soul, the main character, Joel, is a sorcerer who uses magic to prevent diseases, so he doesn’t have a need for condoms or other barriers. But the first time Joel has sex with Lanny, they talk about *why* condoms aren’t necessary. It’s a brief conversation (I’ll share the excerpt that includes it on Thursday, so stay tuned), but it’s still there.

Likewise in my heterosexual urban fantasy novel Beta Test, where werewolf Justin tells his human mate Tara that werewolves can’t get pregnant so they don’t need birth control, and werewolves (in that universe, at least) don’t carry any type of human illness or disease. However, Justin has failed to take into account the fact that Tara isn’t a werewolf, so while no STIs occur, Tara does get pregnant.

In most of my contemporary fiction, the characters use condoms. Those are brief exchanges as well; most of them are not much longer than, “Do you have a condom?” “Yes” followed by the guy putting on a condom.

Depending on the story and characters, this discussion can even give readers a glimpse into the personality of the characters. Does one of them hesitate about using a condom, or try to refuse? In a heterosexual interaction, is the woman terrified of pregnancy? Has one of them already experienced an STI, or lost someone to AIDS?

Safer sex practices, or the discussion thereof, don’t have to be long interruptions in the flow of a story, any more than they have to be long interruptions in the flow of a sexual interaction in real life. And an author doesn’t necessarily have to include it every time the characters have sex; I generally include the discussion and use of a condom with the characters’ first sexual interaction, and figure readers will assume (correctly) that the characters use condoms for all future interactions. But I do think it’s important to establish that the characters are playing safe.

Teaser Thursday- Beta Test

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The next morning, Justin awakened with his arms around Tareth. Throughout the night, he had awakened every time she moved, although he was usually a heavy sleeper. He didn’t want to let her go. After what had happened the day before, he didn’t want her out of his sight.

Which meant she wouldn’t be the only one staying home from work that day. He still didn’t want to leave the room, but he had a few phone calls to make. Carefully he eased himself out of bed and went to the living room. He hoped he hadn’t disturbed Tareth. She was thoroughly exhausted from everything that happened the night before and in the middle of the night that he wanted to let her rest as long as she could this morning.

It was only seven o’clock, but Justin doubted Chal was still asleep. Even though Chal had left him in charge, he wanted to check with the Alpha before he decided to take the day off. He also needed to talk to him about Tareth. The more he thought about it, the less he wanted to leave her behind in Boston while he went to the hunt the following night. She would be alone in the house while the wolves hunted, but that would likely be safer than staying in the city. If an intruder showed up at Sharon’s, the wolves would smell him.

Chal once again answered on the first ring. “Justin.”

“Alpha.” Justin chose to be formal, hoping it would help his case. “I’ve told Tareth to take the day off. After what occurred at the office yesterday, I think she should take a break. She was injured worse than she wanted to let on.”

“I agree. It might be best if she takes the rest of the week off, since the office is closed tomorrow.” Given how many pack members worked for Chal at the office and warehouse, both locations closed on the day of the full moon each month. Chal paused. “You want to take today off as well.”

“I’m concerned about leaving Tareth alone.”

“Put Connor in charge of the warehouse and Jillian in charge of the office for the day,” Chal said. “I think they’ll be best able to manage.”

“Thank you, Alpha,” Justin replied. “I have one more thing I wanted to discuss with you.”

“If you bring Tareth with you tomorrow night, how will you keep her safe?”

Once again, Chal had read his mind. That made things easier, though it also disturbed Justin somewhat. “I can make sure she’s in her room before the sun sets. If I tell her to stay there, she’ll listen. She knows that it might be dangerous, and I don’t plan to bring her unless she agrees. I just think that surrounded by the pack, she would be safer than at her home or mine.”

“You have my permission to bring her if she’s willing to go,” Chal said. “None of the pack is responsible if she is harmed there.”

“Thank you, Alpha.” He wouldn’t hold any of the pack responsible. He knew all too well how shifting affected one’s thoughts. If Tareth wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time, it would be no one’s fault if she was hurt, but his.

He would kill any wolf that hurt her. He just wouldn’t hold that wolf responsible.

Teaser Thursday- With Every Touch

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The cool, soft sheet and pillowcase were unfamiliar to Erich. So was the female body next to him.

Lying on his back, Erich opened his eyes and took a few breaths. The sheet and pillowcase belonged to Sheila, who was curled up on her side facing away from him, her back resting lightly against him.

Morning light came through the edges of the blinds Sheila had closed over the windows. Erich couldn’t see Sheila’s alarm clock on her side of the bed, but it was definitely past six, judging from the light.

He wasn’t good at waking up quickly. His brain was having trouble catching up with the rest of him. His cock had no such difficulty. It was morning-hard, and he was horny.

Sheila’s silhouette beneath the sheet was very appealing. I could wake her. Morning sex is fun even with morning breath. Hell, at least we’d both have it.

Before he could let himself touch her, he rolled over to the edge of the bed and put his feet on the floor. He’d promised Sheila nothing had to happen between them. He was there because she needed comfort, not because she wanted to get laid.

“Where are you going?” Sheila asked softly.

Startled, Erich looked over his shoulder. She was facing him now, the sheet draped over her breasts. Her hair was a mess, and her eyes were slightly puffy.

She looked absolutely fucking gorgeous.

“I just need to use the bathroom.” As soon as he said it, it was true. “I’ll be right back. I’m not leaving until you tell me it’s time to go.”

“Okay.” She gave him a sleepy little smile. “I’ll be here.”

Erich stumbled across the hall to the bathroom, did what he needed to do, and washed his hands. He considered brushing his teeth but didn’t want to use Sheila’s toothbrush. That would have been too intimate. Of course he hadn’t anticipated spending the night, so he had nothing with him except the clothes he wore and his shorts.

When he returned to the bedroom, Sheila still lay under the sheet. Her pajamas were in a small pile on the floor beside the bed.

Her smile this time was less sleepy. “Good morning.”

“Looks like it’s going to be.” He grinned and stripped off his shirt and boxers. His morning wood had deflated in the bathroom, but now his cock returned to full hardness. He knew what she looked like under the sheet.

He wanted to just take her but held back. The night before, she had told him sex was the last thing she needed. Maybe she felt better after a sound sleep, but he wanted to make sure she was all right. “How are you feeling this morning?”

“Horny,” she purred. “Come here.”

If she wanted him, he wasn’t about to argue. She was too sexy. But he had made a promise.

He sat on the edge of the bed. “Are you sure?”

“Completely.” She frowned. “Are you seriously going to just sit there with a naked woman beside you? Touch me, Erich. Kiss me. Fuck me.”

The Story Behind With Every Touch

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In spring 2013, a lot of things were changing in my personal life. Mostly good changes, but still, change sometimes messes with getting things done. I was struggling to continue writing, and I felt like I was treading water with stale plots and characters, just trying to make them fresh somehow so I could keep my backlist going and bring out new releases.

I finally reached a point, though, where I had to stop. My brain was frazzled, and the ideas just weren’t there. For a couple of months, I didn’t write anything at all.

Then I had to start again, because I owed a book to a publisher. I couldn’t think of a single idea, so I went into a chat room I belong to and asked for suggestions. A guy I know–who happens to be a plumber–said, “You should write about a good-hearted plumber with incredible hands.”

We took the conversation private, and with his feedback, I brainstormed the story. A plumber and a TV reporter meet, have sexytimes, and then unexpectedly fall in love. When I started writing the story, the words, for the first time in months, just plain flowed. Everything came together.

The publisher to whom I owed the book accepted it, but then many things happened and the book never reached the editing stage. I asked for a contract cancellation, which was granted, and took the book to Loose Id instead. And tomorrow, it will be available for sale! Check it out on the Loose Id website.

Teaser Thursday- Knot Intended

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NOTE: This story is about a married couple who *roleplay* the wife being kidnapped and forced. Joseph is her husband, playing the ROLE of a kidnapper. Everything occurring in the story and in the following scene is completely consensual.

 

No matter what happened for the rest of the evening, having Joseph look at her as if she were the most important thing in the universe would be worth it.

It would be even better when he finally did something to get her off. Waiting for his next move was sheer torture. She wanted to beg for him to touch her, kiss her, anything at all to give her some relief from the craving and need that left her skin tingling and her pussy tight and ready.

Tormenting her was almost certainly what Joseph intended. He was trying to get her to tell him she wanted him. That was why he had barely touched her so far. He knew the signs of her arousal. He couldn’t have missed how turned on she was. And he didn’t want to give her what she desired unless she begged. But a captive wouldn’t ask for her kidnapper’s hands and cock, so Nolie held back.

Finally he walked over to her and stood so close she could reach the bulge in his pants. “Looking a little anxious there, slut. Is there a problem?”

Nolie shook her head. She refused to reply. He’d ordered her not to ask for anything else. In this game, she should have been pleading with him to get away from her, regardless of what she really wanted.

“You aren’t waiting for me to do this, are you?” He cupped her breasts in his hands and massaged her nipples with his thumbs as he bent and brushed his lips against the spot below her earlobe that always drove her wild. Before Nolie could stop herself, she moaned. Joseph chuckled and squeezed her breast so hard it took her breath away.

He gave her a smug grin. “Oh, so you do like that, don’t you, slut?”

Nolie couldn’t answer. She was sure any words she tried to speak would come out as another moan. After waiting so long, she was so aroused she felt as if she might come from only his hands on her breasts.

Joseph didn’t seem to expect a response. He cupped both hands around her breasts more gently and thumbed her hard nipples. Gasping, Nolie tensed. Joseph released her and stepped back. “You want your tits played with, huh? Even by a stranger? Even by someone who brought you here against your will?”

Nolie pressed her lips together and focused her gaze on the floor. He was her captor. If she admitted she liked what he was doing, he might be pissed off enough to stop. Of course, Joseph probably knew exactly what she was feeling, but he would pretend not to, and Nolie had to keep up the fiction as well. Even if it was so difficult she wanted to scream.

She shook her head then reconsidered and nodded. There was no correct answer to his questions, and not answering at all might be worse.

Joseph sneered. “No, you don’t like it, or yes, you do? Or you don’t have a fucking clue? Sweet, innocent little slut, you can’t admit you want this, can you?”

He squeezed her breasts again. This time Nolie managed to stifle her gasp. Joseph looked disappointed but said only, “Nice tits. I wonder what you’d do if I tried to suck on them. These nipples of yours are pretty much begging for it.”

Nolie smiled at the thought of nipples begging and immediately set her expression back to as close to neutral as she could. Smiling wasn’t a good thing.

 

Teaser Thursday- With Every Touch

(Releasing spring 2015 from Loose Id.)

Sheila nibbled at the bits of lobster in her sandwich and forced back her tears. She’d left her hometown as soon as she had graduated college, twelve years earlier, and she hadn’t looked back since. She didn’t need to think about it now, and she definitely didn’t need to think about Jack.

After moving to Portland, she’d gotten help to deal with the emotional scars Jack had left. She hadn’t been able to do anything about the physical ones, and even with therapy, some of the emotional ones lingered.

But the relationship and abuse were in the past now, and she wanted to focus on her present. She wasn’t even sure why she had brought it up to Erich. Part of her was surprised he hadn’t walked away. Most guys didn’t want to deal with a woman who’d been damaged the way she had.

Most guys didn’t even earn enough of her trust to hear about her life before Portland, but something about Erich encouraged her to let him in.

“These lobster rolls are excellent,” Erich said.

“Yeah.” Sheila glanced at him and saw no judgment, no discomfort.

He took a bite of his sandwich and smiled as he chewed.

He might be a guy worth knowing better. Maybe having around more.

She dismissed the thought immediately. Neither of them wanted a relationship, and she hoped to move to Boston soon. If she repeated that to herself enough times, it might get through. She couldn’t have Erich around her more often than she would spend time with a friend. There was no point in even thinking about it.

She wouldn’t have wanted him to be with her constantly anyway. She didn’t have time or patience for that kind of thing.

“I want to say something to make you smile,” Erich said. “I’m not having much luck thinking of anything.”

“It isn’t your job to entertain me.” She ate another fry. It tasted like cardboard around the lump which had risen through her throat.

“Something hit a nerve.” He held out his hand. Although Sheila wanted the physical contact, she didn’t take it. It would only have given her comfort, which would have been a bad thing when she was so close to losing her cool.

Erich hesitated a moment before resting his hand on the table. “I don’t know if it was something I said or something you said. Either way, it happened while we were talking, and I want to help.”

“I don’t want to spill my sordid past.” She twisted her mouth in something that felt close enough to a smile and took a sip of her soda. “No issue. Memories are crap sometimes, but the good thing is they’re in the past. I want to think about now.”

“Well right now there’s a hell of a thunderstorm going on outside.” A crash of thunder punctuated his words. “You’re not looking at the lightning. It’s pretty spectacular.”

Sheila turned to the window just as a bolt of forked lightning shot from the clouds to the surface of the water. It was beautiful and exciting, and she couldn’t help smiling. “God, I love that! I wish I was out there.”

“You might get struck,” Erich pointed out.

“Stop being reasonable.” She stuck out her tongue at him and he laughed. So did she. Something about thunderstorms, the power, the electricity in the air and the beauty of the lightning, had always lifted her mood. Now she was able to dismiss the tears and memories. They couldn’t stand up to the crashing thunder and pounding waves.

She wanted to be outside. It was pouring rain hard enough that the water looked like sheets running down the window, and judging from how closely thunder followed on the heels of each lightning bolt, the storm was close to overhead. It didn’t matter. She needed to be outside.

“You want to be out there don’t you?” Erich said softly, his voice almost drowned out by the rain drumming the window. “The storm excites you.”

“Yeah.” Sheila faced the window again. “It’s beautiful.”

“It’s turning you on.” Erich chuckled. “Right now you look the way you’ve looked when—well, you know when.”

“Yeah,” she said again. There wasn’t any reason to deny it. Currents ran over her skin, and whether they were caused by the storm or desire the result was the same. Her nipples hardened and her lower body was tight.

She didn’t only want to be out in the storm. She wanted to be there with Erich, soaked and open to him, his cock pounding her as hard as the waves pounded the rocks.

Teaser Thursday- Beta Block

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Carlos followed and caught Brianna around the waist at the foot of the bed. She laughed and pummeled his arm with her fist. She sounded happy, even playful, but he sensed some fear and let go of her. “Don’t let me do something that bothers you. Please speak up.”

“I didn’t mind it. I don’t mind when you touch me. You surprised me, that’s all.” She put her hand flat against his chest. “I’m starting to enjoy touching you, too.”

“Then feel free to do more of it.” He held his hands out to his sides. “Whatever you want.”

She frowned and took a step back. He had no idea what he’d said, and he wasn’t sure he should ask. Instead he lay down on the bed and looked up at her. “Remember how you told me to stop thinking?”

“Yeah.” She took a deep breath and lay beside him. “Landmines. That’s how Tareth puts it. I’m discovering I have more than I thought.”

“Am I setting them off?” He would wait as long as she needed to become her mate if anything upset her.

“No, I’m doing it to myself.” She rolled her eyes. “Thinking bad thoughts. It’s stupid.”

“No. It’s understandable.” He rolled onto his side and rested his hand on her hip. “We can stop. There’s always tomorrow, or next week, or whenever you can do this without landmines going off.”

She shook her head vehemently. “I told you I’m not stopping. I told you I wanted you tonight, and I do. I’m just overthinking, and I need to knock it the hell off. I’m better at giving advice than taking it. I think I should just shut up and pick up where I left off.”

“Wait.” He sat up and took off his shirt, then looked at her for any sign of discomfort. He saw nothing except the faintest orange glow in her eyes. Despite her discomfort, she was turned on at least as much as he was. He felt her desire with his own and gave up trying to separate how much was whose.

He lay down again and smiled at her. “Okay. Proceed.”

She put her hand on his shoulder, lightly at first then adding pressure. Without the fabric of his shirt in the way, her touch warmed his skin, fueling his need.

Something wrapped around them, joining them even though the only physical contact between them was her hand on his shoulder.

Her eyes widened. “You feel it?”

“We’re mates.” He laughed with the sheer joy of something he hadn’t been sure he would ever experience. “I’m yours. That’s all it means. I’m yours.”

“And I’m yours.” She paused. “It doesn’t scare me. I never wanted to belong to anyone because it would trap me. Give them power over me. But you aren’t like them.” She slid her hand over his skin to rest on his chest. “I feel your heart.”

He wasn’t surprised. His heart was pounding, and his cock throbbed in time with his heartbeat. He didn’t remember the last time he had been so painfully hard. His wolf wanted to take her now, make love to her, fuck her, however it ended up. Wanted to solidify their bond so no one would ever be able to take her away. His human side wanted the same thing but knew enough to wait. It will happen. Rushing it won’t help.

Winter Warm-Up

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Happy Friday! I’m taking part for the next few days in the Winter Warm-Up Blog Hop, in which you have the chance to win a variety of prizes from over a hundred amazing romance authors… or even the grand prize of a $75 Amazon gift card! Just visit the Rafflecopter linked at the end of this post for your chance to win, and click on the blog hop link at the end to go to the complete list of participating authors. (After you read this post, hopefully!)

For some people, Christmas is a very romantic time of year. Choosing the right gift for the one you love, seeing their smile when they open it. Cuddling and keeping each other warm (if Christmas is during the winter where you live) or spending time out in the sun if it’s summer in your area.

A lot of romance authors do Christmas or holiday stories to share with their readers, and I’m no exception. My two werewolf series, Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat and Men of City Pack, each have a Christmas novella included. I have a pair of Christmas stories posted on my Free Reads page here on this site, and this year, I have a menage Christmas story available from Ellora’s Cave. Sometimes the best gift you can give someone for the holidays is love.

I’m giving away three prizes: PDF copies of Tofurkey and Yams (male/male; the Real Werewolves Christmas story); The Alpha’s Bride (male/female, the Men of City Pack Christmas story), and Christmas Consummation (MFM menage). To enter, leave a comment below telling me the best gift you’ve ever given to the one you love.

After that, please visit www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com to see which other authors are participating in the hop. And click below if you’d like to enter the Rafflecopter for the hop’s grand prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Teaser Thursday- The Alpha’s Bride

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Carefully, Justin carried Tareth into the bedroom and set her down on the queen-sized bed. He couldn’t take his gaze off her. She was pregnant. With his child. No wonder she’d acted less focused and more tired than usual. He’d sensed something different about her but hadn’t been able to pinpoint it, and he hadn’t wanted to ask. Her feelings had been more easily hurt lately, and the pregnancy explained that as well.

No wonder she’d seemed to glow. He’d heard pregnant women described as “glowing,” but when he’d seen it with Tareth he’d assumed it was just because she was his and he couldn’t help seeing her as beautiful no matter what. That was certainly part of it, but pregnancy explained it as well.

He stood looking down at her, his beautiful mate, and a well of love so strong it almost brought him to his knees rushed through him. She was pregnant. They would have a child together. Nothing could have made him happier.

It wouldn’t be easy raising a child in the midst of a werewolf pack, but they would make it work.

She smiled, though she looked a bit nervous. “Why are you just staring at me?”

“Because I can’t believe you’re carrying our child,” he said. “I didn’t think I could possibly love you any more or find you any more attractive, and I was wrong.”

“Come here and show me instead of just saying it.” She lay back against the pillows and held out her arms.

Justin went to her embrace and lay entwined with her, trying to get closer to her though it wasn’t possible. She held him tightly, and the bond between them grew even stronger than it had been. His eyes watered and he didn’t try to hold back the tears. In front of his pack, an alpha couldn’t afford any display of emotion, but he wasn’t an alpha now.

He was a man who’d just learned he was going to be a father, and he knew no better reason than to feel an overwhelming sense of joy.

Happy Holiday Contest!

‘Tis the season to give things away, so I’m having a contest this week.

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I’m giving away three prizes today, one each to three different winners. The prizes are PDF copies of, in no particular order, my heterosexual paranormal Christmas novella The Alpha’s Bride, which is related to my Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series; my male/male paranormal Christmas novella Tofurkey and Yams, which is part of my Real Werewolves series; and my new Christmas release Christmas Consummation, which is a heterosexual contemporary novella.

I’ll draw the winners at random (I use the online Fruits Machine site) on Thursday, December 18 at noon Eastern time. To enter, comment below telling me what you would do for the holidays if you had ten thousand dollars to spend.