Fifty Shades of Real Life – Part 2

As I began researching BDSM relationships for my books, I discovered that their portrayal in fiction is typically quite different from real life in so many ways. I mentioned in Part 1 that real life play partners have agreements, Doms are responsible for their subs, players often have scenes with someone besides their lover, and either way, they may or may not have sex. But who are Doms and submissives? What do they look like? And how do they see themselves?

Fem Dom with Male on his Knees

Who are Doms and Submissives?

Well the stereotypical Dom is a man, with a lovely young female submissive. But in real life, a Dom can be female as well, often called a Domme or Dominatrix, and she may prefer her submissive to be a man or a woman. Many play with both. Of course in homosexual circles, a male Dom would have a male submissive.

Can you Recognize a Dom or Submissive?

In commercial fiction (and movies too!), we tend to romanticize the image of our heroes and heroines. In real life, they may be young adults or senior citizens, they may be fit and toned or out of shape, and they may wear the iconic black leather, stilettos or cuffs, or none at all. And even if they enjoy dressing up and wearing leather or cuffs for a scene, that doesn’t mean they dress like that in their everyday lives. There’s certainly the occasional bohemian artist, but the rest have regular jobs in stores and corporate offices. Doms don’t necessarily act tough or pushy–many are mild-mannered and quiet spoken. And very often high-powered executives enjoy being submissive in their personal lives.

How do They See Themselves?

In Power Play, my characters explore the power exchange dynamic in their sexual relationship. In real life, plenty of people dabble with BDSM play, but the ones who are pursuing this ‘lifestyle’ specifically identify as their role. Just as some people may play tennis or dance in their free time, that’s different from people who identify themselves as a tennis player or a dancer, who may enter competitions, and who focus their energy on that aspect of their lives. In a similar manner, people who identify as “Dom” or “submissive” or “switch” (one who enjoys alternating) actively study their roles. They attend classes and lectures, and take turns teaching and learning from others in that lifestyle.

Do play partners have agreements before they play? Do they have scenes outside their relationship? Do they have sex ? See Fifty Shades of Real Life – Part 1!

Also check out “What Six Words does BDSM stand for?”

Read “Power Play” on Amazon now!
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Book Review: The Passion of Mary Magdalen by Elizabeth Cunningham

If you’ve been reading my posts here on Sexy Romance Stories, you know I have an insatiable curiosity about all things Biblical. So when a dear friend recommended THE PASSION OF MARY MAGDALEN by Elizabeth Cunningham, I promptly bought it in February, 2011, looked at the beautiful cover of this 620 page book and told myself to get back to work. Now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to read it.  Then again, perhaps things really do happen for a reason. But I digress.

WARNING: If you are offended by feminist interpretations of the Bible, do not read on.

Elizabeth Cunningham, descendant of nine (9) generations of Episcopal priests, knows whereof she speaks in all things biblical. My impression of this author is that she literally ate, drank, slept and breathed Bible stories from birth—no from conception. And, rather than hew to the party line, so to speak, she listened for the voice of the women in these tales and found them missing. In THE PASSION OF MARY MAGDALEN, Ms. Cunningham gave Mary Magdalen and the other two Marys of the New Testament, not only voices, but brains, bodies, spirituality and backstories.

This is the second in the Maeve Chronicles, but you do not have to read the books in order. The author provides an excellent summary of the first book in a non-intrusive manner. She gives the reader enough information to understand where we are as the story begins and weaves in more later. I never felt lost reading the story. I felt as if I was firmly anchored in Mary’s point of view throughout the book, in large part because of the author’s skillful use of the first person.

We know from the New Testament that Mary Magdalen was a prostitute; what we don’t know is where she came from, why she was in that occupation, and what her relationship was to Yeshua, aka Jesus. The first half of this book tells us about Mary’s life as a prostitute and takes place in Rome. Born a Celt named Maeve, she escaped certain death in her home country, only to be captured by a tribe intent on using her as a breeding vessel. She escapes again, only to be drugged by the sea captain. The book opens with her in an open air market in Rome where her captor is extolling her wares. Stripped, poked and prodded in the public setting, she maintains her Celtic backbone and lives up to her bright red hair by cursing the man in three different languages. Amused by her antics and intrigued by her body and brain, the brothel owner and madam knows a good value when she sees one and buys Maeve.

Maeve becomes a craftsman at her trade, taking pride in her work as a whore. Sought after by generals, senators and wealthy land holders, she becomes a favorite of the patrons and the other women in the brothel. The only problem is she isn’t just a worker bee; she’s also a priestess of Isis and strange, supernatural things happen around her at inexplicable times. It is a bawdy, fun, gripping read and the details of daily life in 1st Century Rome are seamlessly woven in without becoming a history lecture. I felt as if I was there at the feasts and in the Temple of Isis. Throughout it all, Maeve never forgets the young man she fell in love with in her home country: Esus.

The second half of the book takes place in Jerusalem, Israel, where Maeve has taken up residence after a series of misadventures in Rome and being bought, sold and finally released into the wild. Setting up a Temple of Isis in a Jewish country occupied by Romans is not an easy affair. While she has financial backing from Joseph of Arimathea, support from some of her fellow whores from the Roman brothel, and a flair for finding hidden sacred springs, she still has to stay under the radar of the religious and Roman dictators. True to her profession and her calling, her temple is offers healing and sexual services, for men and barren women. Between cleaning up an old estate and vineyards, she visits the Temple searching for any sign, any word of Esus. Here the author excels in providing the reader with insights into the people of the day, including the larger than life figures in the New Testament. She also gives us a window into the era’s religious practices, including animal sacrifices, and gives us an idea of how power can corrupt all, even those who claim to act on behalf of Yahweh. Everyone has an agenda in Jerusalem, and the only ones in charge with swords and spears are the Romans.

I won’t spoil the story for you, let me just say that if you want to see, smell, taste, hear and touch that era from the eyes of a very important woman in our collective history, I highly recommend this book.

The phallic world of the ancient Greeks

The research for my erotic romance series, GODS OF LOVE, has taken me to some interesting places. So many ancient Greek gods, so many myths, so much lust and intrigue from which to weave a story or three.

My latest WIP in the series, SEX CLUB SECRETS, has led me on a merry dance, research-wise. From a virtual tour inside a modern-day NY sex club, to articles and posts about sex toys and their uses in the ancient world. Yep. A very merry dance indeed!

Did you know that the earliest known dildo was made of stone and dates back more than 30,000 years to the late Stone Age?

To the ancient Greeks, and therefore to the gods who populate my GODS OF LOVE novellas, the penis was a symbol of fertility, even more so than a woman’s womb. In one simplified version of Greek mythology, the male god Zeus gave birth to the Olympian gods. Any wonder then, that the humble dildo, often made of leather or wood, was a popular toy for both men and women?

Called an olisbo, these phallic shaped objects feature regularly in the art of the ancient Greeks, which often show a man using an olisbo to pleasure a woman, or a woman using one to pleasure herself. Feminists have suggested that the dildo featured so prominently because the ancient Greek culture of penis worship could not conceive of sex without a phallus being present in some way.

Incidentally, olive oil, so common today in our kitchens and restaurants, doubled back then as a pretty effective lube!

This mindset of phallus worship has pervaded my GODS OF LOVE stories thus far, and will continue for now in SEX CLUB SECRETS, an erotic M/M/F novella featuring Ella, her best friend Kade, and their meeting with Anteros, the ancient god of unrequited love and one of the erotes (aspects of Eros).

This is the third instalment in the series that began in PLATINUM PASSION with Pothos, Jake and Jeannie, followed by the recently released transsexual romance, APHRODITE CALLING.

Here is a short Adult-rated snippet from APHRODITE CALLING (GODS OF LOVE #2) that illustrates this ongoing celebration of the male sex organ:

His torso was everything she had already known it would be from her brief exploration of his body a few minutes earlier. Chiseled muscle and smooth caramel skin, the nipples small and hard like decorative brown pebbles in a chest so magnificent she’d never seen one like it before outside of a cinema.

“Whoa.” She scooted onto her elbows, then sat up fully to watch as he removed the rest of his clothing. “So, you work out how many hours a day?”

He was facing slightly away from her, sliding off his underwear, revealing a tight butt and strong thigh muscles that flexed as he bent then straightened. He turned his head to stare at her over his left shoulder and her breath caught at the look of sheer desire in his eyes. He does look like a god, she thought. A sex god. How the hell did I get so lucky?

“I don’t need to work out, Gina. I am a god of love. I get all the exercise I need in other ways.”

There was no mistaking what he meant. The fire from his gaze suffused her body. He turned to face her fully, then, and the breath she was holding escaped in a gasp borne of panic and craving. He was enormous; there was no other word for it. The cock jutted out and up, fully erect. His balls beneath were large as well, but pulled up tightly near his body. Clearly he was almost ready to release himself. She remembered what that felt like.

No wonder he’s breathing so hard.

She focused on the network of veins beneath the darkened flesh and the glistening drop of pre-cum crowning his cock. She wanted to lean over and take him into her mouth, taste the juice of this gorgeous Adonis and suck him into abandon. The musky smell of impending sex surrounded her.

But the panic that edged her need refused to go away. There was no way she’d be able to take him inside her. He was just too big. He’d rip apart all the good work her surgeon had done. And yet…he looked just as she imagined a god of love might look. So tempting. So incredibly, fucking hot. So exactly what she needed to really make herself feel like a woman.

“I want to taste your cock, Himeros.” Maybe he’d come in her mouth and she wouldn’t have to take him into her pussy. She wanted to, though. Oh, lord, how she wanted to feel Himeros deep inside her body; his rock-hard dick sheathed tightly in her vagina. A man inside her properly for the very first time.

Buy APHPRODITE CALLING at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or All Romance ebooks.

Now here’s a little Adult-rated snippet from the first novella in the series, PLATINUM PASSION:

She tried reaching out to Jake as she saw the tell-tale signs of fluid on his cock shining in the moonlight, but was pinned too effectively beneath Pothos. He was so close to coming and she wanted him inside her.

She wanted both of them sheathed inside her.

Pothos saw what she was striving for. “Come, Jake,” he said. “Join us.”

He rolled to the side, stilled impaled inside Jeannie and taking her with him, and then she felt her husband behind her, the juicy head of his cock pressing into her rear.

“Okay?” Jake’s voice was hoarse and she knew what he was really asking. This was something she’d never let him do before, and she bit her lip. Could she do this? Could she take both of them at once? Would it hurt?

“Yes,” she sobbed. “Do it, Jakey.”

And he did, gliding into her with an ease she wasn’t expecting, so slick with pre-cum that it made his entry relatively painless.

Pothos groaned, possibly at the pressure of Jake’s entry tightening her vaginal passage around him. She was so full of man she was afraid she might burst. Then they both began to drive into her body, first one, then the other, tag teaming, separated only by a thin sheath of her inner flesh, and the world as she knew it splintered around her.

Buy PLATINUM PASSION at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or All Romance ebooks.

Jennifer Lynne writes sensual and erotic romance including the popular GODS OF LOVE series. PLATINUM PASSION (GODS OF LOVE #1) was a Best Book of 2011 nominee in GLBT Fantasy Romance at The Romance Reviews. The recently released APHRODITE CALLING (GODS OF LOVE #2) was a Book of the Month nominee at LASR and is garnering great reviews at Amazon and Goodreads. Find out more at Jennifer’s website.

Review – Hot Head by Damon Suede

Blurb –

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…

Since 9/11, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has wrestled with impossible feelings for his best friend and partner at Ladder 181, Dante Anastagio. Unfortunately, Dante is strictly a ladies’ man, and the FDNY isn’t exactly gay-friendly. For ten years, Griff has hidden his heart in a half-life of public heroics and private anguish.

Griff’s caution and Dante’s cockiness make them an unbeatable team. To protect his buddy, there’s nothing Griff wouldn’t do… until a nearly bankrupt Dante proposes the worst possible solution: HotHead.com, a gay porn website where uniformed hunks get down and dirty. And Dante wants them to appear there—together. Griff may have to guard his heart and live out his darkest fantasies on camera. Can he rescue the man he loves without wrecking their careers, their families, or their friendship?

Review – 

We all know where we were on the morning of September 11th, 2001 when the world as we know it altered beyond comprehension. I was three thousand miles away, watching the live news coverage, horrified as the towers of the World Trade Center collapsed. Less than a year earlier, I sat on a bench in the plaza at WTC with my youngest daughter, eating hot dogs from a street vendor and marveling at the energy vibrating through the air.

Two months post 9/11 I was back in the city, this time with my oldest daughter. By then, much work had been done at the WTC site, but no amount of debris clearing could erase the overwhelming sense of sadness that had settled over the city. Healing had begun, but the wound was still raw, and far from being scabbed over. We visited the site to pay our respects to those who’d lost their lives there, and where once I had been moved by the energy of commerce surrounding me, I felt as if a black hole had opened up and swallowed everything good that had once occupied the space.

Hot Heads takes place ten years post 9/11, but Griff Muir, a New York City firefighter, is still dealing with the emotional trauma of that day. Through Griff’s eyes, we experience the horror of the event, and the day-to-day struggle to deal with the emotional upheaval so many brave first responders went through.

It’s human nature, following a tragic event, to reassess what’s important in our lives. Brave enough to risk his life amid collapsing skyscrapers, Griff struggles with a personal truth that threatens to bring down everything he holds dear, and he’d rather run into a burning building than admit he’s in love with Dante, his best friend and a fellow firefighter.

Griff can only stand by and watch as Dante digs himself deeper and deeper into financial trouble. When Dante finally admits he needs Griff’s help, the solution he’s come up with is Griff’s private dream and a public nightmare that might destroy them both if Griff can’t find a way out.

Extremely well written, the emotions will tug at your heart, and you’ll want to keep a fire extinguisher handy because the sex scenes are guaranteed to light your fire.

Damon Suede takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster and reminds us that bravery and heroism aren’t allocated according to sexual orientation, and that sometimes, loving might be the bravest thing of all.

I was simply blown away by this book. I give it – 

Damon Suede’s website.

Buy Hot Head

Royal Watching with Sharon Buchbinder

He was the reluctant heir to the throne of a desert kingdom.

She was a virgin queen living far away in the south.

A little bird told him of her beauty–he had to meet her.

A traveling merchant told her of his wisdom–she had to meet him.

Something greater than either of them conspired to bring them together. When they met, could there be any doubt they were meant for each other? But would duty to country prevail over their pledge to one another? Only time and love would tell.

Sound like the stuff of romance novels? Yes, this was a romance writ large because it was an affair of state and royalty. And these characters appear in no less than four holy books: the Ta Nakh, the Koran, the King James Bible and the Kebra Nagast (The Glory of Kings).

In Biblical times, he who could kill or overcome enemy tribes became king. With lots of children and careful planning, his heirs would succeed him. But not all countries had the same traditions. In some parts of the world, women ruled by might or by right to the throne. For the royals, marrying and having children was an affair of state. Right up until recent times, it was not uncommon for the royalty of different lands to marry for the mutual benefit of their countries. In our modern era, heads of state and heirs to thrones have been granted the freedom to marry whom they choose–within reason.

Millennia before Prince William and Kate Middleton’s time on the world stage, people have been royal watchers. Some watched to see if they were in favor and able to gain, others to see if they were out of favor and about to lose–their heads! Still others watched because it was simply the best show in town.  So when the royalty of Israel met the royalty of Sheba, all eyes were upon them. Based on the appearance of these two royals in no less than four world religions, no one could resist watching the wise King Solomon and the beautiful Queen Makeda.

In researching my work-in-progress, Kiss of the Virgin Queen, I, too, have become a royal watcher–from a distance of over three thousand years.  My historical voyeurism has taken me down a circuitous path across time and cultures to their mythic romance.  Destinies entwined, some would say the Makeda/Solomon romance was beshert.

With construction on the first Temple well underway by the time King Solomon greeted the extravagantly generous Queen of Sheba,* he already had seven hundred (700) wives and three hundred (300) concubines. By marrying princesses of rival kingdoms, he had built an extraordinary alliance and ensured the safety of the trading routes. Curious about the man behind the legend, Queen Makeda traveled fifteen hundred (1500!) miles from Ethiopia to meet the wisest man on earth–and to ask him “hard questions.” When they met, the Queen was “left breathless by Solomon’s magnificence” (Coogan, Brettler, Newsom, & Perkins, 2001, pp. 508). The attraction was mutual–but there was nothing they could do about it. Or was there? The eyes of the world were upon them.

What do you think happened between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba?

While you’re thinking about a response and waiting for me to finish this epic romance, here’s an excerpt from KISS OF THE SILVER WOLF in KILLER KISSES

Prologue: The Hunt

He leaned down on his front paws, relieved the kinks in his back, and shook out his thick coat. Beneath the cold air, a hint of spring tantalized his senses. Under the moist leaves, between the tree roots, alongside the chortling streams, the sleeping earth mother stretched her legs and wiggled her toes too. He gazed at the pearl white moon as she rose on the horizon, full and iridescent in the February sky. Only a few days left to enjoy this part of his life.

Time for a run. He began to trot, then broke into a long easy gait, loping around the perimeter of his territory, through trees and winter-bare brush. He picked his way across a snow-melt-swollen stream, past massive rock formations and darkened houses, enjoying the feel of his muscles as they kept pace with his pounding heart. This was what it felt like to be alive.

Too soon he reached the asphalt and the end of his fun. Panting, he turned away from the road and walked at a slow easy pace, back to the pack’s meeting place. Time to speak to the Old One about the future. Midnight runs no longer suppressed his primal feelings, the visceral urge he felt when the full moon rose.

Each month, the call to mate was stronger—irresistible as the pull of the moon on the oceans—and on him. The females in the pack were off limits, bonded forever to their soul mates. Besides, their scents didn’t arouse him. No, the one he wanted was far away, almost an unattainable being. The moment he saw her smoky-eyed image, he knew she was The One. Often when he was alone at night, he gave into his dark urges and fantasized about holding her and making her his own. But in the morning, he was still alone, his dream-mate a dust mote on a sunbeam. He shook his head to clear his thoughts and stepped into the apple orchard.

Half-hidden in shadows beneath the moonlight dappled trees, the Old One nodded his head, a knowing glint in his bright orange eyes. The younger male trotted over to him and bowed his head. Half a dozen adolescents tumbled over and around the Old One, bit his gray ears, and nipped his toes. When the smaller ones looked up and saw the younger male, they yipped, hobbled over to him, and threaded between his legs. The Old One’s mouth opened in a grin, and his tongue lolled.

The younger male fell to the ground, rolled on his back, and the six pups leaped on his belly. He chuffed and pawed at them, cuffing each one lightly. He enjoyed the role of honorary Uncle, but what he really wanted was his own pups to play with. After a few minutes, he gave a great sigh and flipped onto his belly. The little ones seemed to sense his change in mood and hobbled off to play with sticks.

He locked gazes with the Old One. When will I have my own mate? It’s not enough for me to watch the little ones play.

The Old One winked and nodded. My job is to preserve the pack, to keep our people alive. I have chosen your mate. You know who she is. You have my oath.

The younger male shook his head. You didn’t answer my question. When? When do I get my mate and become Pack Leader?

The Old One leaped to his feet, glared at the younger one, and growled a deep throaty roar that belied his age. You dare to question me? Me? The one who saved you? Is that how you show your gratitude?

The younger male put his ears down and lowered his head, his nose touching the ground. Forgive me. I’m—I’m so lonely. My heart aches for a loving mate and my own pups. Every moon the urge gets stronger, the hunger greater.

The Old One came closer, grabbed the back of the younger male’s neck with his teeth. The large signet ring on his iron necklace clanked as he gave the upstart a small shake. The time is coming near. I promise. You will—

The unmistakable crack of a rifle sounded in the distance.

The Old One’s mate barked out orders to the other females. Grab the pups. Get them home. Hurry, hurry.

The younger male found a straggler hobbling along as fast as his legs permitted. He lifted him by the scruff of the neck. C’mon, little one. I’ve got you. You’re safe now.

A second shot rang out closer by.

The little one whimpered and shuddered in his grip. Please don’t let the hunters kill me, Uncle Zack. Please?

****

“I told you to hold your fire!” Special Agent Eliana Solomon stood by the abandoned mine and drummed her fingers on the butt of her Sig Sauer.

“Sorry, SirMa’am…I thought I saw a wolf in my night scope.” The newbie looked downward as she glared at him.

“This isn’t a hunting trip with your buddies. It’s an active operation and I’m in command. One more shot and I’m taking your rifle away from you. Got it?”

He gulped, clutched his weapon, and nodded. “Yes, Ma’am.”

She had asked for experienced soldiers; instead they sent a bunch of green boys. She understood the Middle East took precedence, but didn’t the Army get the concept of domestic terrorists?

The mission of Project Aladdin was to find jinn, the portals where they came through from a parallel dimension and to shut the gateways down. Contrary to popular TV images of a pretty girl in a bottle, the jinn, or genies, were not nice. Powerful shape shifters, they hated humans and wanted to take over the world. If a terrorist ever found a way to conjure and command even one jinni, the world would never know what hit it.

Despite her obsession and round the clock investigations, she’d been unable to make any progress. With her evaluation coming at the end of the month, she had to find something. Otherwise, she’d be exiled to a desk and spend the rest of her professional life analyzing emails. She shuddered at the thought of death by tedium and twisted the heavy signet ring on her left hand.

Strange energy signatures had been seen on satellite images of this area and identified as the type associated with jinn. The abandoned mine was the logical place for a portalbut so far the scout they’d lowered down into the shaft hadn’t reported anything. She glanced at her watch. He’d been silent for twenty minutes. He was supposed to be reporting in on the quarter hour.

Mouth dry, she keyed her radio. “What’s going on down there?”

Static.

“Hello. Can you read me?”

A long burst of static was followed by garbled voices. A man screamed.

She wheeled on the pale-faced young corporal holding a rope. “Get him out of there!”

He leaned back and grunted, red-faced with exertion. “Something’s wrong, Ma’am!”

She raced behind him, screaming at the stricken-looking young men huddling together. “Get over here. Help us get him out.”

Three of them put their backs into the effort, finally bringing the scout up into view. Limp-limbed, the young man’s head lolled back, his camouflage uniform covered in blood. They hauled him onto the ground and rolled him over.

A soldier held a flashlight as Eliana pulled out a handkerchief and wiped his face off. Something was on his forehead. She dabbed at it and stopped. The words burned into the man’s forehead told her all she needed to know. She stood on shaky legs.

Bug eyed, the corporal turned to her. “What is it? What’s it mean?”

She chose her words with care. “It’s Hebrew. It says: GET OUT.”

She flexed her fist and rubbed the heavy signet ring inscribed with pentacles and letters from an ancient language. She was going to need help from a source that some people said didn’t even exist.

 

PS: If you are interested in reading more the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, here are some books for you.

Budge, W. (Translator). (2007). The Kebra Nagast (The Glory of Kings). Lexington, KY: Silk Pagoda.

Clapp, N. (2001). Sheba: Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queen. New York, NY: First Mariner Books.

Coogan, M.D., Brettler, M.Z., Newsom, C.A.,  & Perkins, P. (Eds.). (2001). Kings 10:1-13 in The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, p. 508-509.

Fraser, A. (2004). The Warrior Queens. New York, NY: Anchor Books.

Razwy, S.A.A. (Ed.) & Ali, A. Y. (Translator).  (2009). The Qur’an Translation. Elmhurst, NY: Tahrike Tarsile.