Lexi Post is my guest today with a look at her erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave, Masque. Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win in her giveaway.
Welcome, Lexi! Tell us a little about Masque. What inspired this story?
That’s easy. Since I write erotic romance inspired by the classics, I chose Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Mask of the Red Death” first published in 1842 for my inspiration. In Poe’s story, Prince Prospero seeks to escape the Red Death by gathering his aristocratic friends and sealing them off from the rest of the town in a great abbey, leaving his other subjects to live or die as fate decrees. On the night of the Prince’s Masque, which is held in his seven colored entertainment rooms, when the great clock in the Black Room strikes midnight, a figure enters the party in a mask resembling a victim of the Red Death. When the Prince attempts to kill the intruder for such audacity as to remind them all of the sad state of affairs outside, the Prince falls dead, as does everyone else in the abbey, and the clock ceases.
But what if the intruder had been a friend who hoped to sway the Prince to do what was right by his people, only to have everything go wrong? That is how my hero was born, with a lot of guilt.
Blurb: Rena Mills plans to turn an abandoned abbey into a haunted bed-and-breakfast to prove she can be successful without her ex-fiancé. What she finds inside is Synn MacAllistair, the distinguished, self-proclaimed Ghost Keeper. Her dreams soon fill with sexual cravings for him. But are they dreams?
Synn, born in 1828, is determined to free the souls of the resident spirits, blaming himself for bringing the Red Death that killed them. When Rena steps into the old Pleasure Palace, he’s sure he can take her through the after-midnight Pleasure Rooms and stoke her passion to complete the Masque so the souls can cross over. Her innocent fire makes him crave more, but it’s far too late for him.
As Rena begins her erotic journey, her heart becomes more involved with every sensual caress until she discovers by completing the Masque she would lose her ghosts. Synn’s betrayal wars with her compassion for her ghostly friends. Torn, she must make a choice between her financial security and freeing seventy-three trapped souls. Either way, she could lose her Synn.
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
I’m currently polishing up To Bea Rappaccini which is based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” My Bea is poisonous as well and there is only one way for her to expel those poisons, which makes long term relationships a bit difficult. Too bad she’s fallen for former logger, Zach.
Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?
Oh yes. Nighttime. Preferably between 10pm and 2am. No, I don’t have children or anything, I’ve just always been at my peak at that time and that is when I am most creative. Yes, it does wreck many a day. Revising, editing, polishing, marketing can and have to be done during the day. But for some reason, I can only create in the dead of night.
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
Oh wow, I have a bunch, but I’ll narrow it down to one. When my heroine, Rena, who is only in a robe and being carried through the foyer by a very naked Synn (my hero), they have to stop because Rena’s stuffy ex-fiancé has just arrived and is standing there. When Synn steps out from behind Rena to formally introduce himself, well, it’s a lot of fun.
Do you listen to music while you write? What are you listening to now?
Actually, I need complete silence. I love total quiet. That might be why I create at night. I never get complete silence where I live now because the house I’m living in is only 50 feet of sand away from the Caribbean ocean, so I’m always hearing the waves, but that is an easy sound to get used to LOL
Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
Well the fact was, I was doomed to be a voracious reader. My dad had been an English major and valued reading highly. He let me read anything and everything in his collection from a very young age, and book buying was the only purchase that was never questioned in our house (we didn’t have much money). But even before then, when I was only 2, my mom made up big two-foot by 6 inch cards with words on them and taped them to corresponding items in the house, like STOVE, REFRIGERATOR, etc, so by 2 years-old I was reading and wanting to go to school. Go figure.
These are few of my favorite things:
1. My husband – he was a fireman, nuff said
2. Cats – I think I have a cat gene J
3. Ice cream – I make mine homemade every weekend
The man looked as if he’d stepped out of a nineteenth-century drawing room, except his coffee-brown hair hung loose about his shoulders. She was pretty sure it should have been tied in a queue to be proper. His entire demeanor projected upper class from his sharp nose and angular clean-shaven chin, to his broad-shouldered stance. A rather tall stance it was too, with one snugly encased leg crossed over the other. But his eyes stupefied her. They appeared gray, ancient, yet flickered with bright shards of blue.
Valerie recovered first, brandishing her tightly held candelabra as she stepped forward. “Who are you and what are you doing in here?”
He straightened and gave them a formal bow. “My name is Synn MacAllistair. That is Synn as in S Y N N. I’m the caretaker of the ghosts.”
Rena took a deep breath. She could feel her cheeks heating as his voice reverberated through her body. Sin fit him. When he moved his gaze from Valerie to herself, his intense scrutiny warmed her. She swallowed. “Uh, I didn’t think anyone lived here.”
His stare held hers captive. “I do.”
Valerie retreated to stand next to her. “Oh really. With a padlock on the outside of the gate?”
He raised his right brow, the look of arrogance worthy of Mr. Darcy. “There is a postern gate.”
Rena racked her brain. She’d heard that word before. Oh yes. “I thought only the owners of a castle knew the secret to that rear exit.”
He raised his brows together. “That is true but I desi—discovered it while following a small boy around the Abbey.”
Valerie crossed her arms. “A small boy?”
“Yes. The children in the neighborhood dare each other to get close to the Abbey. They want to see the ghosts, who are quite harmless to humans.” He gestured to the housekeeper. “Mrs. McMurray here will become more solid as the full moon approaches and will be pleased to help you in any way she can.”
They turned and stared at their ghost, having forgotten her. The older woman nodded vigorously, her white cap covering her gray hair falling to the side. Mrs. McMurray’s plump frame included pudgy arms sprouting from a short-sleeved blouse and a white apron that protected her skirt, but from the knees down, she didn’t exist at all.
Rena’s heart pounded. A real ghost. If what Synn said was true, that the ghosts would become solid, the possibilities for her new venture were endless. Could the ghosts serve breakfast to the guests? How would she pay them? She couldn’t resist asking. “Are you the one who keeps it so clean in here?”
Mrs. McMurray blushed and nodded again. She actually blushed.
Synn clarified. “She and a dozen maids have kept this place clean for centuries in the hopes that someone would come here to live. Do you plan to stay?”
She turned to answer him, but Valerie gave him a disapproving look. “The real estate agent didn’t say anything about anyone living here.”
He sighed, clearly bored. “No, I imagine he didn’t. He is what we refer to as a lickfinger.”
Rena chuckled at the strange word. She couldn’t help it. It sounded backward.
Valerie didn’t find the expression funny. “Well, you need to know, Rena owns this castle now, abbey, whatever you want to call it, and she has the right to throw you out.”
Rena grabbed her arm. “Valerie.” She changed her warning tone to a more pleasant octave as she addressed the sexy man in front of her. “You are of course welcome to stay, Synn. Perhaps you can help us understand the ghosts, the history of the Abbey and anything else that might be helpful.” She smiled encouragingly. She didn’t want him to leave.
He gave her an arrogant nod. “I would be happy to be of service. Perhaps I should start by helping you to bring your personal items upstairs as the footmen will not be solid enough to lift anything for another week.”
Another week? How strange. She didn’t remember seeing anything on television regarding ghosts changing with the moon. “Thank you. That would be perfect.” She could tell Valerie didn’t trust him. She, on the other hand, was thrilled to have him in the Abbey. Anyone who could help her succeed was welcome. The fact that the man was incredibly hot didn’t hurt either.
He nodded once and held his arm out to her. She looked at her friend and shrugged, then looped her arm with his. The second they made contact, a sizzling sensation raced across her skin.
He didn’t move. Did he feel it too? He gazed down at her, his face serious. “Shall we?”
Lexi will be giving away a Venetian mask made in Italy to one lucky commenter. Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
Bio: Lexi Post spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about classical literature. From the Medieval work “The Pearl” to the 20th century American epic The Grapes of Wrath, from War and Peace to the Bhagavad Gita, she’s read, studied, and taught great classic literature. But Lexi’s first love is romance novels. In an effort to marry her two first loves, she started writing erotic romance inspired by the classics and found she loved it. Lexi feels there is no end to the romantic inspiration she can find in great classic literature.
Lexi lives with her husband and cat in the Caribbean where gorgeous sunsets, warm weather, and driving on the left are the norm.
Ellora’s Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com/masque.html