Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Aries are demolitions specialists. What they cannot do with explosives isn’t worth talking about. Highly adaptable, they are designed to be able to seek out and use components around them as well as packaged explosives, and to use their surroundings to maximize any blasts they set. They are masters of precision explosions, able to bend their abilities to assassination using micro-charges should they wish. On the ground in combat, they are often paired with the normally female Virgo classes, and used as backup to the heavier Leo classes.
As was common with the last models from the Zodiac project, the Aries class are built on the Garrison Inc. mark II combat chassis, bone mounts and what remains of the organic skeletal system laced with duerineium alloy. Their joints are replaced with heavy-duty cybernetic constructs and, giving the nature of the class, their organs, arterial pathways and nerve clusters are protected by a subdermal synthmesh to absorb any knocks, blows or to give them protection against any accidental blast injuries.
Johnny, the hero of Aries Revealed, is an Aries class. Like the rest of his class, he is highly adaptable, a fact the fleet did not consider when they made them, and then tried to kill them. Easily avoiding termination, Johnny and another member of his squad escaped, and have been living among the human population for years, where Johnny has discovered a surprising aptitude and ability for dancing and taking his clothes off…
Johnny makes a living on the strip circuits. His most popular routine? The Aries 7000. Bronzed and oiled, he pretends to be the scourge of the universe, one of the deadly and outlawed zodiac cyborgs. But Johnny isn’t really a stripper playing a cyborg. He’s a cyborg playing a stripper.
Milly, a freighter captain, has had a thing for the sexy stripper for months. But when Johnny, the subject of many of her hottest fantasies, asks her out to dinner, she runs. All is not lost, however; a chance encounter yields an Aries 7000 sexbot, hers for a weekend of pleasure.
It seems too good to be true. Sex with the man of her dreams without risking her heart. But Milly’s bot has some secrets…secrets that could save her life when the past returns to haunt her.
Available NOW from Ellora's Cave
Mina Carter was born and raised in Middle Earth (otherwise known as the Midlands,
Suffering the curse of eternal curiosity Mina never tires of learning new skills which has led to Aromatherapy, Corsetry, Chain-maille making, Welding, Canoeing, Shooting, and pole-dancing to name but a few.
A full time author and cover artist, Mina can usually be found hunched over a keyboard or graphics tablet, frantically trying to get the images and words in her head out and onto the screen before they drive her mad. She's addicted to coffee and Nutella on toast.
Where to find Mina...
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Her attention turned outward a heartbeat later when a ripple of breathy anticipating shot through the crowd, buffeting her senses in waves of emotion that was almost a physical entity. She stopped and slowly looked toward the front of the room, frozen to the floor as the four men who’d been onstage less an hour earlier entered the room. The singer everyone’s attention was focused on looked around, and Claire saw his discomfort at the furor his presence created. Muted screams from some fans made him wince a tiny bit before he recovered his composure and smiled.
She watched as he was surrounded by woman who all talked at once in an effort to engage him, and while he was polite and courteous, he spared none of them more than a casual glance or a quick kiss when they insisted on pictures. Claire walked further away, intent on escaping the craziness in front of her. She’d almost reached the French doors that led onto a softly lit balcony, when someone bumped her from behind and sent her stumbling into the wall. Her drink splashed the front of her pale green dress, and she cursed at the stain that was quickly spreading.
“Are you all right?”
She opened her mouth to say something sarcastic, and the words sputtered out when she was captured by pale grey eyes that were genuinely concerned.
Michael Eden was even more devastating when he was this close. Just over six feet tall, sandy blond, unruly hair fell across his forehead, his handsome face was lightly tanned. She was struck by the overall impression of broad shoulders and a presence that was both strong and gentle.
“I’m fine,” she said, when he frowned. “My dress isn’t so lucky.”
She looked past him and saw the crowd had been watching them, and the looks being cast her way were not overly friendly. The instant he glanced over his shoulder, the annoyance vanished into adoring smiles again. Claire saw his mouth tighten in response and she knew he was irritated.
“Maybe I should be asking you if you’re all right,” she noted.
He looked at her and his mouth quirked in a half smile. “You’d be the only one here who noticed if I wasn’t,” he said.
“You don’t like this very much, do you?” She was acutely aware of his hand on her elbow as she righted herself, the firm grip of his fingers branding heat into her skin.
“I like to sing,” he shrugged. “The rest of it…”
He didn’t finish the sentence, and she felt weirdly lost when he withdrew his hand. For a couple of moments she was undecided, torn between logic and the sense that he didn’t want her to leave him. Considering she was just another fan, she chose the route that was logical, and murmured a quick thank you as the restless crowd decided they’d waited long enough.
She fled the reception room and found a bathroom a few minutes later. Once inside, she looked at her dress in dismay. At least she’d only been drinking Club Soda, so there’d be no stain once the satiny material dried. She glanced at the air dryer on the wall and went over to it, twisting the nozzle to the side so the stream of hot air was aimed at the wet spot on the front of her dress. It took about ten minutes, but it was mostly dry when she left the washroom and returned to the reception area. She headed for the balcony and stepped outside into the cooler night air.
The only light on the wide patio like balcony was what streamed out from the reception room. There were a couple of discreet bistro tables and chairs, and a multitude of plants and flower boxes. She spotted him immediately, one arm raised so his hand was against the back of his head, and his expression was shadowed as he looked outward. When she would have gone back inside and left him to his solitude, he dropped his arm and turned, his gaze meeting hers.
“I’ll go back inside,” she offered, her voice barely more than a whisper. “I don’t want to intrude.”
He smiled and held out his hand, inviting her closer. “It’s fine.” When she reached his side, he looked out over the city beneath them. “Gives a sense of false power when you look down on humanity like this,” he said. “Just like standing on a stage does. You can forget the people below you when you get caught in the moment.”
“You don’t seem to enjoy the reality of it very much, though,” she said, staring up at his profile, silhouetted against the light that poured from a window a feet away.
He tilted his head and looked at her, his smile emerging slowly before he spoke again. “I can’t think of a single person here tonight who’d have said that to me.”
She couldn’t hold his sharp look, so she twisted to gaze out at the city. “Maybe more people should pay attention to you in the right way.”
He laughed, and the sound of it stroked over her skin like a caress, making her flush with heat and awareness of him. He leaned down on the wide rail of stone that kept them safe, and he watched her, making her blood burn in her veins and stain her cheeks scarlet. In the half-light, she suspected he could see her response to him.
“What are you thinking about right now, this moment?”
“That I should be heading home while I can still get a taxi,” she answered.
He laughed again, and she shivered. “Liar,” he taunted. “What are you really thinking about? Or should I guess?”
“You don’t know me, it’s unlikely you have any idea what I’m thinking about, Mr. Eden.”
“Prove me wrong then, Miss…?”
“Claire Reynes,” she supplied into the pause.
“Talk to me, Claire, or I’ll be left to believe you’re like every other woman in this place, and your goal is to get into my bed tonight.”
Her eyebrows rose and she shook her head. “Keep talking, Mr. Eden, maybe you’ll believe that.”
He shrugged and turned his back on the view, leaning down on his elbows as he kept his look level with hers. “Most of the people here are just waiting to get a chance to convince me and my band that we should fall in love with them.”
“Is that your ego, or are you really that jaded by all this?”
He straightened up and ran his hands through his hair, leaving it more unruly than it had been. “I don’t know,” he admitted.
“What are you thinking about, Mr–” He interrupted, requesting she use his first name. “Michael?” she corrected, “you asked me, now I’m asking you.”
He snorted a laugh, and turned to snare her eyes with his shrewd gaze. “How honest do you want me to be?”
“I asked, what makes you think I want a lie?”
“I’ve been thinking about fucking you,” he replied, tone casual. “The moment you saw past this bullshit here I wanted to know what it would be like to fuck you.”
Her heartbeat roared to furious life inside her, the pounding pulse almost deafening in her ears as she absorbed his blunt statement. She was blushing all over, and her breath was coming in shallow gasps. He stood and placed his palm against her chest, smiling.
“Your heart’s beating so fast,” he remarked, his voice soft and sweet. “You’re real, Claire. This isn’t a game for you, is it?”
She wanted to take the last step that would put her next to him, but she stayed still. Tears sprang to her eyes and he sighed, then drew her close, holding her so tight she was drowning in him. The light scent of his skin teased her nose, and she closed her eyes when his hands stroked a light touch over her back.
“I’m sorry I was so rude,” he murmured into her hair, then rested his chin on the top of her head. “I’d like to take you out for a drink, if you’d like to go with me?”
The thread of uncertainty was what swayed her, and she drew back, staring up into his handsome face. “What if I told you you’d been right when you figured you knew what I was thinking?”
His slow grin transformed his features into wicked delight. He cupped her face with his hands and bent to cover her lips, his tongue licking her bottom lip, coaxing her mouth to open to him. Her arms wrapped around his neck and she sucked his tongue into her mouth, shuddering when he groaned softly and pulled her body tight to his as their mouths fused in roused desire. Long moments later he broke the kiss with a gasp, and their foreheads touched. His breath was quick against her flushed skin, and she felt his words when he whispered, “There’s a bar in my hotel room, why don’t we head over there?”
“I don’t do one-night stands, Michael.”
He nodded. “Believe it or not, neither do I.”
They stared at each other for a long moment, measuring truth and trust, and hope.
“Let’s have that drink,” he suggested.
To be continued...
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Romance heroes are as a rule larger than life men, mostly strong, independent, alpha males who are often arrogant and enigmatic. While this is meant to be alluring, in the real world, it’s just as often a source of frustration for women who deal with this kind of man daily. I like this kind of romance hero myself, they’re my stock in trade. I also enjoyed aspects of Fifty Shades of Grey–but there are also aspects of it that are somewhat frightening, too. Let’s take the “hero” of this story, Christian Grey. He’s a megalomaniac, a control freak of amazing proportions, and he likes to practise a less-than-reality-based BDSM lifestyle. Oh, and at the tender age of 28, he’s richer than god and inspires fear in businessmen twice his age. To offset this apparently “privileged” life we learn that his childhood was less than blessed, he was beaten and abused by “the crack whore” who was his mother, and in his teen years, his adoptive mother’s friend stepped in and began a Dom/s relationship with him before he was even of legal age.
Anastasia Steele is presented as the “all-American girl” who catches the eye of Mr. Grey. She's impossibly naïve, to the point of annoyingly stupid at times, and while we are told often of her strength, she exhibits precious little of it throughout the tale. She is, in fact, the kind of “heroine” that some editors refer to as TSTL–Too Stupid To Live. When she’s not falling on her ass clumsy, she’s chatting with her Inner Goddess or the voice of her conscience, neither of which shows any real sense. She swoons over Christian, she moons over Christian, she attempts to say no to Christian… All of this we’re told makes her more appealing to him.
Ok, story aside, let’s look at a few points that go unspoken in all this. Fifty Shades of Grey and books like it, those that present an unrealistic and romanticized view of unbalanced relationships, are influencing the perceptions of romance for an entire generation just waking up to their sexuality, both men and women. Hell, older men and women well-versed in relationship interactions are being influenced by these books. We’ve all heard about how they’re saving marriages and all that, which is great if it’s helping you open up to your partner about the intimate aspects of your relationship. BUT, why aren’t we hearing about the other side of all this? Because it’s ugly, and it spoils the fantasy that’s being sold to us all. How many people have bought the “toys” with no real understanding of their use? How many men have hurt their partners with whips, floggers, plugs, anal beads, and all the other trappings of BDSM? Instruments that give pleasure in the right hands, be it laced with pain or not, but in the hands of the inexperienced and uninitiated can cause real injuries. How many women have asked their mates to tie them up, or spank them, or cuff them, only to be left feeling utterly used and terrified by the resulting experience? How can any of this be perceived as romantic or loving?
How many women, realistically, want to be told what to wear, who they can see, where they can work, when to eat, when to exercise, etc.? The enlightened, average woman calls that emotional and psychological abuse when her girlfriend tells her she’s met a guy who does this to her, doesn’t she? At what point in time did all that’s been fought for in recent decades with regard to women’s rights become disposable? Is this really romantic? Most of us if faced with this in our real lives would tell the guy to bugger off and find himself a doormat to walk over. But, if you’re young, inexperienced, and impressionable–which is a state we all, men and women, go through as we grow into our adulthood–and this, you’re told by books and movies, is an expression of love, not an abuse of your trust and love, are you so quick to tell your Prince Charming to take a hike? Unlikely. Therein lies a problem. The vulnerable have just become even more vulnerable to those who see this as an opportunity to take advantage, to get what they need or want, and do it in the guise of romance and love.
There is a huge difference between a dominant male and a domineering one, but the distinction comes with life-experience to a large degree. And, how many “bullies” will pass off their aggressive tendencies as their Dom side, especially to those who haven’t a clue about the fine-lines? Are we encouraging weaker women to allow men like this to take control of their lives? It can happen easily enough. Maybe for some, they don’t want to be responsible for the choices that make them unhappy, so allowing a “Dom” to take over removes that burden for them. Who knows? The true nature of BDSM, or indeed, Dom/s is that in its truest lifestyle form, it is a loving partnership based on incredible trust. With the watered down and irresponsible presentation given in Fifty Shades, it’s a young woman being taught that what she wants is what Christian wants. A virgin heroine no less, and she’s not even had the pleasure of bringing herself to orgasm when she meets Mr. Grey and he begins to teach her his version of passion and sensuality. He freaks out on a regular basis, stalks her, terrorizes her on emotional levels at times, and yet she is drawn and calls this love.
I think as an industry, romance leads the way for fantasizing love and sex, making it larger than life, and for some, an unattainable dream. We’re teaching people, old and young, to want impossible things from the partners we choose. People NEED to talk and communicate, that more than anything else is what defines an honest and real relationship between people. Strip away the money and the glamour, and what would most of us see in Christian Grey? A man who uses women to soothe his anger and satisfy his sexual needs. Sure, he’s “fifty shades of fucked up” and that appeals to the need most women have to save and nurture, but how many women want to have their asses spanked and to be treated like children because their husband/boyfriend gets pissed off over some perceived transgression–like going for a drink with your best friend. Again, we’re sending some very negative and dangerous signals to young women if this is the way “romance” and “love” are being marketed by the industry.
And what are we teaching the young men of our society? That if you push hard enough, you can be a “Dom” personality? Dominant personalities are natural, they’re not bullies dressed up in Dom trappings. Money doesn’t buy submission, and if it does, you’re not a Dom, you’re an abusive bastard who’s using fear to manipulate others into giving you what you want. Young women who are insecure and unsure, they’re potential victims for this kind of abuse. Don’t kid yourself, either, unless this kind of relationship is mutually sought, it is a prime source of mental and emotional abuse. Most loving couples don’t really need to dominate, stalk, or control their partners to the point of obsession. Obsession is unhealthy, and not romantic. Time to balance the perceptions, at least in my opinion.