A shift in the romance genre!
In particular, a shift in the kinds of female characters we favour as our leading ladies. Wide-eyed innocent is out. Experienced, often jaded is here to stay.
No longer is brooding into the setting sun while playing piano the domain of hunky love interests. Now our heroines have their own demons and hang-ups, and resolving their inner turmoil is just as important as sealing the deal with said hunky love interest.
Forgive the flippancy. I have nothing against virginal ingénues who fall prey to worldly men and in doing so discover sex, liquor and the reckless side of life. There was a time not so long ago when that trope belonged to ‘serious’ male writers who saw fit to punish such wayward young women with a sordid end—whether through death, poverty, or prostitution. Or all three at once, for the truly sadistic.
Romance writers have been far kinder to female characters who dared leap—not always willingly—into a lover’s arms. The genre as a whole has rewarded them with love, riches and happy ever after.
Personally I’ve never been able to relate to female characters who’ve never even thought about sex until true love proclaims his lust. The fantasy of an inexperienced young woman being catapulted into the arms of a man who can’t control his passion isn’t something I relate to. What I love are heroines who’ve had the time to figure themselves out, even if their previous partners are few. I love a girl who can steer her hunky love interest when he finally deigns to show up to the party.
I’m especially fond of this slightly more sophisticated cousin of the young ingénue when it comes to BDSM erotica, which has seen such a huge rise in popularity. More so than in any other subgenre, a female character who knows what she’s getting into can go a long way toward dispelling the impression that she’s being coerced or groomed, without sacrificing that delicious tension between submissive and sometimes forceful dominant.
In my latest title, Twice Upon a Blue Moon, Hazel is not only old hat at BDSM, but she’s acquired a few emotional scars during her short dip into the lifestyle. As a result, she’s played it safe since and resigned herself to never finding a truly fulfilling relationship. Enter Dylan. Not only is her best friend’s one-time lover handsome and unflappably cool, but he happens to share Hazel’s appetite for crops and cuffs. Discovering that Dylan is already involved in an unconventional friends-with-benefits arrangement with another man should stop her in her tracks, but this wouldn’t be the first time Hazel has ignored red flags to follow her heart.
In her eagerness to seize the moment, Hazel dives headfirst into a tryst that could awaken demons she’s long kept buried. Will it be flames everywhere or can a woman like her play submissive to two men so far out of her league?
is the first instalment of the Surface Tension trilogy, a contemporary, BDSM ménage from Totally Bound.
Blurb for Twice Upon a Blue Moon:
This is book one in the Surface Tension serial, see the full serial listing here
Some affairs are like playing with fire, but knowing you’ll get burned is no reason to throw the game.
When her best friend doesn’t show up after a no-strings date with a man she met in a fetish club, Hazel is duty-bound to fetch her from what could be a sticky situation. She doesn’t expect to find her friend’s date so attractive—or so unflappably cool. Not that it matters. Hazel has been burned before and she knows to stay away from handsome men who are patently out of her league, especially when they’re involved with her one and only friend.
Tesla-driving, suit-wearing Dylan more than fits the bill. But every barb Hazel throws him makes him rise to the challenge, and he doesn’t want her to find a way to say no. But not only does Dylan have his own playroom and a sound grip on the S&M lifestyle, he’s also a man of many secrets. Dylan sees a place for Hazel in his bed, but what he wants is more than a one-night stand.
As she acclimates to the idea that Dylan may not be entirely straight or entirely single, Hazel soon finds herself caught between two dominant men whose bond seems to balance on a knife’s point.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of BDSM.
Excerpt from Twice Upon a Blue Moon:
“I said I’d go down on you,” he remarked, albeit a little choked. “I didn’t say I’d get you off.”
Dismay sank like a block of cement in Hazel’s gut. “No, please…” The churning pleasure building at her core ebbed back. Hazel panted. “Please. Come on. You have to.”
She didn’t realize her mistake until Dylan was standing, his fingers tight around her chin. “What did you say to me?” he growled. He looked dangerous.
He looked furious.
Hazel’s voice fled, taking with it the air in her lungs and the last scraps of courage she had left. She wanted to sink into the heated floor.
“I think you need a reminder as to who’s in charge here…” He pulled away so abruptly that Hazel swayed forward before she could steady herself. She tracked him with her gaze, dreading that he’d make good on his threat to gag her after all.
It was a little pathetic that she felt relieved when he took up a leather crop, bending it between his hands before letting it whip back into shape with a bone-chilling hiss.
“What color are you on?” Dylan asked, from well across the room.
“Green, yellow, red?”
Oh. That. She had to think about it. “Yellow?”
Dylan’s expression softened as he approached. “It doesn’t hurt very much. Do you want to try it and see?”
The change was so swift, anger fleeing his features as though it had never been there at all. It nearly gave Hazel whiplash. She shook her head. “I’ve used one before.” Less ‘used’, more ‘had used on me’, but the answer was the same. “Don’t… Don’t hold back on my account.”
Dylan seemed a little unsure, but he didn’t challenge her. Maybe that was against his rules, too.
Hazel didn’t get the chance to put much more thought into it before Dylan pulled back the crop and flicked its flat, fly-swatter-like tip against her hip. A sharp sting exploded in her buttocks, heat skittering up her spine.
“Red?” Dylan asked, steadying her with fingers splayed wide against her belly.
Hazel swallowed hard. “Green.” Very green. She tilted into the offending instrument, eager to prolong the burn before it numbed away.
Dylan got the message and struck her again.
About Helena Maeve:
Helena Maeve has always been globe trotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she's collected in her excursions. When she isn't writing erotic romance novels, she can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning in her trusty little notebook.