Today is a doubly exciting day.
It’s release day for a book under my Beverley Eikli name (A Little Deception which I’ll talk about in a later post) and it’s also a huge day for the Hot Down Under erotic Aussie authors of which I am one. Yes, the final five in the collection of 14 erotic shorts was published today.
It really has been an exciting few weeks for me. First, Saving Grace was accepted by a new publisher, then I won UK Publisher Choc-Lit’s Search for an Australian Star competition (with three books under my Beverley Eikli name due out in the next 18 months).
Then on Friday I learned I was shortlisted for an Australian Romance Readers award for my very first erotic romance, Rake’s Honour, which was published last year.
Saving Grace is the last book I wrote in 2012 and the first to be published in 2013. The story took up a lot of my attention last year to craft and polish it and I love the cover my publisher Pan Macmillan Momentum chose for it.
Revenge and redemption are recurring themes in my erotic romances and romantic intrigues. In Saving Grace I’ve explored the shifting balance of power between two rich men and a vulnerable serving girl with a shared history. The story takes up at the point at which justice must be served.
It’s a sweet, poignant erotic story and I love my strong but vulnerable heroine. I also love the wronged and noble hero. He’s very young and he, too, is vulnerable in his own way, but by the end of the story they’ve fought the demons that would hobble them from achieving their dreams.
Here’s an excerpt.
Reclining on the red plush sofa, Grace sipped the sickly sweet orgeat Madame Chambon insisted her girls drink and tried not to think about the night ahead. The others were gathered in companionable groups on the fashionable Egyptian sofas, their heavy scent perfuming the air.
As usual, no one gravitated towards her, though of course later, when their clients came calling, that would no longer be the case. Grace would have preferred the company of a like-minded female rather than the alternative.
An expectant hush fell as the heavy draped and tasselled curtain was drawn aside and Madame Chambon arranged herself theatrically in the opening, ready to address her petites choux.
“Ravissement!” she complimented them in thickly accented English, clapping her hands. Grace suspected the elegantly ravaged Madame came from Lambeth rather than the Left Bank. Not that it mattered. No one in this business was who they said they were.
Least of all, Grace.
The girls, awed and anxious, straightened their rich, colourful gowns nervously. Despite her appearance of bonhomie Madame Chambon could turn on a coin. And it was she who ensured the girls did not return to where most of them had been plucked from – the gutter.
“A great opportunity awaits one of you tomorrow,” she addressed them, “for I have just been honoured by the visit of a woman of great discernment …”
A couple of the girls tittered. “A woman?”
They closed their mouths at Madame Chambon’s beady stare, attending as she went on, “who has requested I supply her with one of my loveliest …”
She drew out the pause as several of the brothel’s most popular young ladies preened.
“… most hard-hearted girls.”
All heads turned towards Grace. She blinked. Is that how they regarded her? Hard-hearted?
She simply had nothing left to offer anyone once she’d earned enough to pay her keep and just survive.
Madame Chambon levelled her expectant look upon Grace, whose mouth dropped open in protest. “A woman? But—”
“The woman wants to give her son a present to remember for his twenty-first birthday. She is obviously a very fond mother—” Madame Chambon allowed herself to share the girls’ amusement, adding, “with very good sense in choosing our select establishment to provide him with the very best initiation—” Her smile grew cloying as she continued to look at Grace—“without fear of him being lured into a transfer of affections amidst all the other … ahem … transfers that take place.” Though she made a gesture with her hands to indicate the transfer of money, the girls tittered at the double entendre.
The redhead closest to Grace dug her friend in the ribs. “Grace doesn’t have a heart to lose.” Her whisper resonated.
Nor did Grace have the heart to participate in the banter that followed.
So what if she’d been selected? It was just another job and a good thing she need not worry about eliciting the emotions of a twenty-one-year-old virgin. Pleasing, also, was the knowledge that it would inevitably be over in less than five minutes.
END OF EXCERPT
Yes, the final four books in the collection of 14 were released on all e-formats, and at all good romance e-tailers, though I’ve only included a link here to Amazon.