I'm one of those people who walked out of every class on the first day of the semester saying, "I'm going to fail this class," even though I graduated with honors. So of course when I see an email with my cover, before I even open it, the pit of my stomach drops to the floor. Then I open it, and YAY! It's gorgeous and perfect. Why do I torture myself with expectations of calamity when I'm always wrong? I have no idea.
So to go along with this wonderful cover, I'm going to give you a NC-17 snip from Personal Demons (released this Wednesday from Torquere Press. Read more snips this WEdnesday as I host Torquere's Live Journal)
Personal Demons (Torquere Press, March 09) is the final book of the Chaos Magic series (m/m BDSM). When Hector met Sam in Chaos Magic, Sam was running from his psycho ex-master, the God of Fear. Their turbulent relationship runs into more problems in Love Runes as Sam has to decide between growing up a little for the sake of their relationship or staying forever young. While Sam is finally getting his act together in Personal Demons, it's Hector's turn to face his jealousy or drive Sam away forever.
Sam is a film critic covering the Venice Film Festival and Hector comes along hoping to turn it into a romantic vacation. This scene takes place their first morning in Venice, just before Sam unwillingly becomes the pet project of the God of Fame.
I woke to the peeling of church bells. Soft morning light reflected on the ceiling of our hotel room. The day was already warm. I tried to see what time it was, but there was no clock on the nightstand. If I’d been thinking, I would have counted the church chimes from the beginning, but I wasn’t sure if they tolled the hours or simply reminded everyone that it was time for mass. Whatever the answer, it was too damn early to be up. My body protested that it was still the middle of the night, and back home, it was.
Groaning, I tried to put my pillow over my ears to drown out the bells, but the chain securing me to the headboard was too short.
Hector mumbled something. His lips pressed to my neck above my slave collar and ground his hard-on against my butt.
“Good morning, Sir,” I whispered.
Hector growled, but not in an angry way. The sound sent shivers down my spine. Smiling, I wriggled against him. He growled again and tightened his grip on me. Gentle kisses blessed my bare shoulders. I yawned, stretched my legs, and rolled over to face him – not easy with my hands chained to the headboard. His warm brown eyes crinkled up at the corners as he grinned at me.
“Venice.” Hector said it like he was evoking a holy word. Maybe for him it was. He was the God of Love after all, and what city was more romantic than Venice?
“Maybe we could do a little exploring before I head over to Lido to check in with the media people,” I said.
He rolled over and picked up his watch. After squinting at the face for a while, he put on his reading glasses. He groaned and collapsed against the mattress. “Who’s up this early?”
“The bell ringers.”
“Smart ass.” He smacked my butt hard and then released me from my shackles.
Giving him a quick kiss, I got out of bed.
When I came out of the bathroom, Hector stood at the open window. He was nude. His broad shoulders and the dimples at the small of his back were an awesome sight. The light seemed to wrap around his warm brown skin and highlighted the dark hair on his forearms and thighs. To me, he looked like one of those statues of Hercules – masculine and powerful. Even if he hadn’t been a God, he would have been god-like.
“Someone should paint you like that, Sir. Or make a sculpture. You’re so…” I was going to say hot, but the word that came out of my mouth was, “beautiful.”
He didn’t turn from the window, but he extended his hand towards me. I took it. He drew me in front of him and wrapped his arms around my waist. I leaned back against his chest as we took in our first daylight glimpse of Venice together.
Below our window was a canal. Several buildings down, the canal widened into a small lagoon where thirty or so gondolas were tied together. A man climbed across the boats which were tied together in the mooring until he reached the one that was his. He stripped off his shirt, revealing a toned stomach and beefy arms before he pulled on his red and white striped work shirt.
Once that show was over, I took in the rest of the view. The skyline was punctuated with crosses and domes. I knew that we weren’t far from St Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace. The surrounding neighborhood was a jumble of homes and shops. The apartment building directly across the canal from our hotel room was taller than the hotel. Its walls were warm sienna with small wrought iron balconies that were crowded with plants. Several stories down, a black and white cat sunned himself in a window.
We stood in our embrace for a long time as we watched early-rising tourists carefully climb into the gondolas. Soon only a few boats were left in the lagoon. The smell of the sea filled the air. Sunlight bounced off every surface so that the city glowed. Hector’s aura wrapped around me like a cloak. Everything was so perfect at that moment that I didn’t dare speak and break the spell.
Church bells chimed again, but they sounded further away.
“A city of churches,” Hector mumbled in my ear. “A city of Gods.”