Welcome, gentle readers, to the Friday Smut slot!
On Monday this week we discussed fervent religions. On Wednesday we considered sun, sand and sex in exotic places. Fortuitously, I can continue both themes today with my 2002 novel Divine Torment, which is back in print this month (October 16th in the US). It’s actually the prequel to Burning Bright, so if you’ve read
If you haven’t read Burning Bright, then please let me introduce you to the original:
Divine Torment is "Like Gladiator, set in a mythical realm," according to the publishers blurb. Yeah: I like that. It’s swords ‘n’ sandals ‘n’ sex, with a big helping of scary religion on top. If you like Spartans you’ll appreciate my Irolian army men – though I wrote this long before "300" came out. Divine Torment is also a heartfelt romance set across a bitter racial divide.
The Plot: In the ancient desert temple-city of Mulhanabin, the Malia Shai awaits her destiny. She is the divine priestess of the terrifying Goddess of the Cruel Earth and millions across the Eternal Empire worship her, believing her to be the goddess Malia incarnate. But Mulhanabin is under threat from the invading Horse-eater horde that approaches across the desert, so the overlords of the Empire send a force of soldiers to occupy the city and hold it against the invaders. The leader of the occupying hosts is the rugged and brooding General Veraine. He and his men are of a different ethnic group to the inhabitants of the sacred city and he has no respect for their ‘primitive’ gods, but against his better judgement he becomes obsessed with the Malia Shai. In turn, though she has been raised to be an empty and completely passionless vessel of divine power, she becomes fascinated with this handsome stranger. Intimate contact between them is forbidden by every law of their two hostile peoples. But she is in the end the only thing he wants – and he will risk everything to have her.
Comment on this post and you’ll be entered into a draw to WIN A COPY of Divine Torment! (Don’t forget to identify yourself somehow in your Comment.) Winner(s) will be announced on Tuesday.
BONUS DRAW: I have a spare copy of the Japanese Version of Divine Torment, so if you can read Japanese – or you know someone who does and would like a smutty present – identify yourself and win!
By the way, the new cover characters look NOTHING like my heroes. Tomorrow I’m posting my Veraine Lookalike picture and he’ll be up all week in the righthand sidebar here on Lust Bites.
Here, then is an excerpt. The scene set-up: Our two protagonists have been circling each other for weeks. Veraine has been the target of a botched assassination attempt and is confined to bed with a shoulder wound, feeling sore and grouchy.
‘I didn’t mean to startle you,’ she said.
‘Yes. Two. They’re protecting you now.’
'They let me in. They must think I’m an unlikely assassin.’
There was a hint of humour in her voice, but he shook his head, not listening, and told her, ‘Get out of here.’
She put the pot down on the floor. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘What’s wrong? You’re here alone with me in my bedroom. And you walked past two witnesses to get here!’
She blinked. ‘What does it matter what your guards think?’
All the time he stared into her eyes, searching for any response in those brown depths. She stared back with the fathomless unreadable regard of the desert.