Once again, a warm welcome to Aurelia T. Evans, who’s here to talk about sexy villains this time! 😉 Check out her new book, Fortune – you won’t regret it.
Loving the Villain
I’ve been partial to villains for most of my life, discovering my affinity first for Disney villains. The obsession only grows richer and more mature as I get older.
Of course, villains in real life suck. They’re not nearly as juicy or attractive as the movies make them seem, played by magnetic and attractive actors and actresses brimming with sexual heat, seductive with voices like velvet. I’m a very aural person. Tell me Jeremy Irons purring through Scar’s lines in The Lion King doesn’t do it for you. Or Gary Oldman accessing his deeper register for Dracula in soft-core erotic Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
It doesn’t hurt that most villains are unconventional people, typed as characters who deviate from established norms. (Take the Disney villain, who is most often a deviation from sexual and gender norms.) They also tend to be INTJs, so I can relate. Don’t worry, I’m occasionally Snapish, but I’m not villainous by nature—quite the opposite. I’m way too empathetic.
There’s a freedom to fictional villainy, though. A freedom to casting aside the chains of conventionality or caring what the rest of the world thinks of you. A freedom to living within your own set of rules instead of being a hypocrite pretending to follow the ones pounded into you since birth. Villains appeal to the frustrated nihilist in me. Living within them through the fictional worlds in which I immerse myself makes up for the meekness and obedience in which I engage in the rest of my life.
The thing about villains, though, is that they’re fun for protagonists to take a vacation from reality with, but in erotic romance, their love burns hot, fierce, and unfortunately fast before it becomes too hot to handle—love transformed into something hard, cruel, perhaps obsessive lust—what was called “love’s dark pretender” in Orton’s musical version of Dracula. The villain is always vanquished, and to the hero or heroine goes the spoils.
But don’t villains ever get the love?
There’s room for that in dark erotica, sure, but what about erotic romance? Can the villain ever get the girl for a happily ever after or happily for now without compromising his villainy, the things that make him (or her) so fucking attractive to begin with? Is there a single villain dating site out there somewhere? (There’s probably a black comedy in that somewhere.)
I’ve courted erotic horror romance before. The Sanctuary trilogy had Grant in Winter Howl and Abraham in Cry Wolf. Red Queen, Gravedigger, and the Bloodbound serial all feature vampires who don’t flinch from their man-drinking natures.
But on the spectrum of good and evil, I think the demonic circus Arcanium is the closest I’ve gotten so far to giving evil people the love they’ve been lacking for so long. I don’t know whether I’d call Bell Madoc, the devious jinni who runs Arcanium, pure evil. Like I said, it’s more of a spectrum. But by human standards, Bell Madoc is definitely a darker shade of charcoal gray.
One of the things I love about a lot of villains is how gleeful they are, how little they apologize for themselves—and, as Jekyll said of Hyde, how wonderful they love their life. This isn’t, of course, true of all villains. Some are the moody, brooding, tortured sort, and I like them too. But you can’t knock someone who lives their life—immortal or not—to the fullest, someone who knows who and what he is and doesn’t flinch.
It’s been a running theme in my stories that nonhuman creatures exist according to their own morality code and shouldn’t be judged by human standards. What use have jinn or demons for human ethics? What use have vampires or werewolves for veganism? I usually make it so that they have to follow a different set of rules entirely. Whether my readers accept this or see it as rationalizing is up to them—I just write the code, I don’t determine if it’s legit.
Bell—fortune teller and illusionist of Arcanium and ancient, immortal, wish-granting jinni—has a code. He can go as cruel as he wants when granting wishes he’s bound to grant. But he’s fiercely protective of Arcanium, and the only ones allowed to hurt his cast are him—only through the granting of the wishes, and only if he’s furious enough at you to twist your wishes so much—and the Ringmaster in the act of exacting punishment. The Ringmaster is a whole other matter, the darkest demon in Arcanium and an unrepentant sadist (in the good and bad ways). He gets his story in book four, the aptly titled Ringmaster.
But Bell’s the one with the twisted imagination and far freer rein. He hasn’t created Arcanium to make a hell on earth, but purgatory is sometimes bad enough. The tension between the multiple facets of Bell, dark and kind, cruel and protective, passionate in his fury and in his love, make up not just Fortune—the first book of the Arcanium series and the one that details his relationship with Maya, the newest addition to Arcanium—but every book in Arcanium. He’s the director of this stage, the puppeteer of all the strings, the benevolent dictator and captor, and his inescapable influence permeates every inch of Arcanium.
He loves as strongly as he hates, and in Fortune, he’s set his sights on Maya. See if you could resist him in the excerpt below.
Welcome, friends, to this darkest of dances, to the cult of villain love that I think you’ll enjoy as much as I do. Welcome to wonder and amazement, to fear and corruption, to horror and romance mated in an intriguing oddity as lovely and fearsome as any Arcanium demon.
Welcome to Arcanium.
More About Fortune
He’s the reason to be careful what you wish for.
After her jealous boyfriend makes an angry, careless wish, Maya DeLuca finds herself trapped in a traveling demonic circus and at the mercy of a devious jinni, Bell Madoc. She joins the other lost souls of Arcanium who suffer in perpetual purgatory under the weight of their wishes, all making the best of a cursed situation.
But Maya’s not even cursed because of her own wish, which means she still has three for Bell to grant.
He may be fond of her—the passion they share is as hellfire hot as it is wrong—but that doesn’t mean she’s safe from his endlessly inventive, wicked imagination. He might twist her wishes at his whim for his own pleasure. Or he might just give her what she wants…which could be even worse.
Somehow the narrow space between them had grown nonexistent. Although he’d just been enjoying an after-hours delight with his woman, the bulge of his erection nudged her stomach, hot as coals. Yet her hips canted against it, drawn to him as though his body were a spindle and she the yarn.
She slid her hands down to his chest again, spreading her fingers to cover as much of him as she could.
“What are you doing to me?” Maya whispered.
“I’m not,” Bell said. He lowered his lips to her shoulder, but then stopped himself, raising his head again, as breathless as she. “I told you, Sasha and Mikhail…after they’ve fed…and we were so close to them. And you… We already…”
This was the first time Maya had seen him almost at a loss for words.
“So the demons are doing this,” Maya murmured.
She inhaled the scent of him. His fortune teller incense had permeated his clothes, his hair, his skin. Her lips parted as though to taste the smell, and she found herself with her mouth against his chest. Not quite a kiss, but far from innocent or chaste or completely out of her control. She could pretend to herself that the action was involuntary, but she couldn’t deny how much she wanted to kiss him, to lick and taste the flesh beneath her lips.
“They intensify what you already desire,” Bell said. He crooked a finger under her chin and lifted her face to his. She watched his lips as they formed his words. “You desire me, Maya. You want me to have you, whether you think you should or not.”
“I don’t,” Maya said, but he gently drew her closer and closer, and she raised herself on her toes, gasping for breath as she begged herself to resist, to listen to her common sense. Common sense in a world untouched by all things common. She should have known better. “I won’t.”
“I desire you,” Bell confessed in a husky whisper that melted down her spine. He tilted his head and pressed his lips lightly on her cheek, lower on her jaw, just underneath, his kisses like moth wings. “I have desired you since the moment we met and I saw that you would be one of mine, part of my Arcanium. If you only knew how difficult it has been to keep you so near and not touch you like this.”
Until now. But Maya couldn’t bring herself to push him away or tell him to stop. She thought if she tried, she would only pull him even closer and beg him to continue. Whatever pall the incubus and succubus had cast over the circus, it had stripped away the lies and recriminations she’d heaped upon herself to stay away from him.
In spite of the immodest costumes, Maya thought they were far too overdressed.
“Then why haven’t you?” Maya asked. “Aren’t I bound to you? Doesn’t the wish mean I have to learn that not everything is about me? Seems like the perfect wish for creating a slave and making me do everything you say. It’s what I expected. It’s not what I wanted, but it’s what I expected.”
His hand on her neck tightened, and he almost kissed her lips. He came within a hair’s breadth, but he pulled her away from him, groaning. She curled her fingers into his shoulder, trapped between relief and regret.
“That’s not something we do here,” he said. “But I would be lying if I said I was never tempted by that wish.”
“So murder is okay, but rape’s too much?” Maya asked.
“I fulfill the wishes and the Ringmaster deals the punishments, but those are the only torments and tortures allowed in Arcanium. The rest of the time, my people are to remain untouched and unhurt against their will,” Bell said.
“Why?” Maya asked.
“Because that is how I wish it,” Bell replied.
“I thought your wishes don’t have power.”
“No. But I do,” he said. He swept an arm around her waist and brought them more tightly together. There was no way for her to deny his arousal—and no way for her to deny her own. “Is it your wish that I take you, Maya?”
She shook her head and bit her lip to keep herself from saying yes, although her hips rubbed subtly against his erection, acting independently of her will. Her mind was no longer steering this ship—if she wasn’t willing to speak her wishes aloud, her body intended to make them known. She slid her hands down his chest to his abdomen, pausing at the darker trail of hair that led into his loose trousers. It would be so easy to follow that path. Her fingers twitched.
“Good girl,” he said. He released her hips to cradle her face in his palms and advanced. She backed away to keep her balance.
It felt like a dance, a tango without the prudishness. Maya had never experienced this kind of need, as though she would explode if he didn’t kiss her in the next fifteen seconds, burst into flame and burn down to ash if he stopped touching her. She’d never known such intense lust actually existed.
“Do you want me to take you?”
“No,” she said, clutching his forearms, her legs aligned with his as he guided her toward one of the oddity’s tents.
When her back hit a wooden tent pole, he ceased his insistent push. His hands hovered over her shoulders, down her arms. His gaze crawled over her, over all the places her body wanted him to lavish her with every ounce of his inhuman intensity. But he didn’t. Evil as he was, the man had a code—a twisted, arbitrary code, but a code nonetheless.
“Beg me to take you anyway.”
Purchase for early download at Totally Bound
Fortune will be available on Amazon and other retailers from May 15 2015.
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Aurelia T. Evans is an up-and-coming erotica author with a penchant for horror and the supernatural.
She’s the twisted mind behind the were/shifter Sanctuary trilogy, demonic circus series Arcanium, and spiritual gothic urban fantasy series Meridian (publication TBD). She’s also had short stories featured in various erotic anthologies.
Aurelia presently lives in Dallas, Texas (although she doesn’t ride horses or wear hats). She loves cats and enjoys baking as much as she dislikes cooking. She’s a walker, not a runner, and she writes outside as often as possible.