It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years. On January 30, 2005, my first erotic romance was published.
|Original 2005 cover|
Ellora’s Cave was the 800-pound elephant in those days, the upstart little publisher who showed New York that erotic romance was a force to be reckoned with. DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS sold like wildfire and I was thrilled that after 15 years of trying, I was an overnight success.
I still remember the tears that filled my eyes when I first beheld my cover. Black and white torso wrapped in a diaphanous veil, with the stark red of the title. Pow, what an impact it had on me. Ten years later, its cover updated by EC’s fabulous art department, it still has brisk sales.
It’s a coming-of-age story of a 39-year-old divorcee who finally realizes she is a sexual being. The words fell out of me because I was able to let my mind run rampant without reining in the vivid, no-holds-barred writing, the flinging wide of bedroom doors, the four-letter words that New York editors had frowned on.
In fact, Ellora’s Cave gave it an award for the best first sentence of any book they’d published that year. It starts out:
“…and remember, if you see a naked man handcuffed to the ring in the ceiling, it’s because he wants to be there.”
So I thought it might be fun to revisit Lyssa and see how she started out so timidly to discover her own sexuality. In this excerpt, her best friend, Kat, has taken her to a sex club masquerade.
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Excerpt from DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS ©Cris Anson
“Okay,” Lyssa said softly. “Let’s go.”
She reached out, but before her slightly trembling fingers touched the brass knocker, the solid oak door swung open and a tuxedo-clad giant bowed them inside.
Bouncer, was Lyssa’s first thought. It somehow eased her mind. All the members of this club had been rigorously screened, Kat promised, for physical, financial, and emotional health. Guests had to be approved in advance by a screening committee. Lyssa hadn’t even known Kat belonged to such an exclusive club until she’d been invited to tonight’s soiree. But, she supposed, with Kat’s fine arts gallery situated on upscale Lancaster Avenue in nearby Bryn Mawr, she came in contact with many wealthy clients and browsers.
A never-married free spirit with a long string of lovers, Kat turned heads with her flippant attitude, flamboyant auburn hair, whiskey-colored eyes and funky wardrobe. Lyssa herself leaned toward the look of understated elegance she’d grown up watching her mother wear.
Not that any of it mattered tonight, Lyssa thought wryly. Her own scanty costume, that Kat had autocratically said she would supply, couldn’t be worn on the streets of downtown Philadelphia.
The giant relieved them of their black capes and gestured to a room beyond an exquisitely carved archway reminiscent of a Roman aqueduct. The drawing room was softly lit by wall sconces and dozens of candles clustered on the massive marble mantel, imparting a rosy hue to everyone’s skin.
The seven veils of her costume swirled sensuously around her, stroking her bare legs, as Lyssa slipped into the room. She was conscious of the slight swaying of her unfettered breasts beneath the nearly translucent silk. Kat had already disappeared into the darker recesses of the room. She was on her own.
On one of the sofas, she noticed a man settling down on his back. He wore only a loincloth and bear-tooth necklace. Red ochre stripes decorated the exposed part of his face. Another Indian, this one in full feathered headdress and a long, shapeless leather smock laced up from neckline to hips, pulled the reclining man’s arms over his head, tied his wrists with rawhide strips, then fastened them to a table leg.
As Lyssa watched, transfixed, the Indian chief began unlacing the smock, then slid it slowly off his—no, she realized—her shoulders and down to her feet. Unabashedly naked, with a feather tattoo on the outer curve of her right breast, she pulled one, then two feathers from her headdress and began to stroke the bound brave’s skin. Slowly up, down, up, down his tanned body, from neck to ankles and back again, until Lyssa could see him grit his teeth in a grimace of arousal that could not be assuaged. The squaw leaned forward, large breasts hovering tantalizingly above his face. A distinctive lump lifted the loincloth, growing larger with each languid stroke of the feathers.
Lyssa gulped. She could feel her breath coming more heavily. What would it be like to be so totally dominated by someone arousing you, teasing you, being captive but knowing that you wouldn’t be hurt, someone bringing you to the brink but not knowing when release would come?
She shivered deliciously and turned away.
And bumped into a red-haired, red-bearded man wearing nothing but a kilt. The wiry hair on his wide chest brushed against her bare arms and she shivered again. That must be how the feathers felt, she thought, surprising herself. She looked up into the shadowy depths of his eyes behind the mask, deep blue like a loch on a clear day. And saw unmistakable desire flare through them.
“Ah, lassie, may I touch you?” he asked with a hint of a Scottish burr.
“You can,” she breathed. Where had that quick acquiescence come from? He’s a stranger!
Slowly he raised his hands to her shoulders and with a butterfly touch stroked her arms down to her wrists, then back up again. The sensations rocking through Lyssa astounded her. Here she was, in a roomful of strangers, allowing a nearly naked stranger to fondle her, and she didn’t want to move!
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I hope you enjoyed this little look back. You can purchase DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS and all my books at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers.
~~ Cris Anson