He Wants Her So Badly He Can Taste It…
Ever since their tempestuous fling years ago, incubus Lukas Sebastiani has known that siren Scarlett Fontaine was meant to be his. But when you’re a sex demon with an insatiable desire, relationships are way more than complicated…
Her Siren Songs Bring Men to Their Knees…
Rock star Scarlett Fontaine desperately needs a break after a grueling tour. But with murder and mayhem surrounding her band, and the one man she never thought to see again put to the task of protecting her, life is going to be anything but peaceful…
Every encounter between them creates more turmoil-and heat-until Scarlett pushes Lukas to the boiling point, and unleashes forces that go way beyond anything she can hope to control…
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away two copies of Tamara’s novel, Taste Me.
Believe it or not, the idea for my alternate world in Taste Me began in the pit at a rock concert. The cheerfully debauched behavior of the drummer absolutely riveted me. “He must be half-incubus,” I marveled.
Hmm, what if mythological creatures were real? Using this concept as a starting point, I started building the Underbelly Chronicles world the next morning.
What if, long ago, a spaceship en route to someplace else crashed here instead, hopelessly marooning the survivors? What if, given the behavior they observed in the local population, they decided that their very survival relied upon keeping their true natures secret? This is the origin story of the Underbelly Chronicles’ world. What if these species heavily influenced our history and mythology so they could coexist with us, hiding in plain sight? The survivors—incubi, succubi, sirens, Valkyrie, vamps, werewolves and faeries—evolved somewhere else, on a different branch of humanity’s family tree, with biological strengths and vulnerabilities that keep them all in check, in an evolutionary game of Rock Paper Scissors.
In the Underbelly world, Valkyrie are gloriously physical creatures, possessing hyperactive metabolic, adrenal and hormonal systems and living by the adage, “Food, fight, f*ck”—but their body chemistry gets seriously out of whack if they can’t expend all that excess energy. My vampires are allergic to UV rays, eat food, and yes, drink blood—only because it’s a biological imperative. They cannot ‘make’ other vampires with their bite, but biting—and being bitten—are highly erotic. They possess massive personal glamour, and the strongest among them can influence others’ thoughts—unless they’re dealing with a species with innate buffers, like the faeries. Physically tending toward frailty, faeries compensate with strong empathic powers, and they’re revered as healers, therapists and artisans. Werewolves, the only shape shifters in the Underbelly Chronicles world, give the Valkyrie a run for their money in the physicality department. They are vocal, exuberant, and can shift to lupine form at will. All the species share enough of a genetic base that they can mate with and reproduce with each other—and they have, for centuries.
In Taste Me, I give the classic incubi and siren mythology a biological interpretation. I’ve long been fascinated by the medieval legends about incubi, the seemingly-irresistible sex demons frequently blamed for impregnating women whose husbands just happened to be away at war for years at a time. I once saw a painting depicting a succubus rising from the body of her drained and depleted lover/victim, which led me to consider the idea that some sort of energy exchange had taken place. What if incubi and succubi had to absorb emotional energy for survival? What if, as incubi and succubi absorb sexual energy, they emit pheromones which incite desire and lust in others? I then studied the classic siren mythology—where sailors were seemingly so enchanted by sirens’ seductive, otherworldly voices that they willingly wrecked their ships on the rocks to better hear their song—through the same energy lens. What if sirens could manipulate and amplify emotional energy with their voices?
In Taste Me, incubus security guru Lukas Sebastiani was siren rock star Scarlett Fontaine’s her first lover—and as the tagline on the cover of the book says, “When your first lover’s a sex demon, it’s all downhill from there.” After spending a single, rock-my-world night together, Lukas, guilt-stricken, walked away without saying a word, leaving Scarlett wondering what she’d done wrong. Years later, she’s never had a lover to match him, and she’s…pissed. Coming home burned out after a year on tour with her band, she’s determined to get some answers—and to move on with her life, either with Lukas or without him. Lukas, for his part, knows she’s hell on his control, and for both their sakes, they can never be together. When an assailant addicted to sexual energy starts racking up a body count, Scarlett refuses to cancel her homecoming show. Lukas ends up as her reluctant bodyguard, and neither of them is happy about it.
Scarlett jacks up the heat by crafting a concert set list guaranteed to make him writhe with lust. Being sirens are particularly susceptible to incubi pheromones, Scarlett’s plan boomerangs back on her, big-time.
What happens when you pair a control-freak incubus who’s forced to absorb emotional energy with his every breath, with a pissed-off siren who amplifies emotional energy with her voice—and who he wants more than anything on this Earth, or any other? **WHOOSH**
I think my favorite thing about writing urban fantasy romance is the world-building. I love putting a different spin on what we think we know about our history and our world. Who says astronomer Carl Sagan didn’t know that “first contact” had already occurred? Maybe Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl really is a werewolf. His features have always seemed rather lupine to me. ;-)
Read an excerpt! (mature readers only)
Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives in the Minneapolis exurbs with her partner Mark and two naughty cats. When she’s not telecommuting as a quality and process engineer for a global networking company, she writes urban fantasy with a sci-fi twist. Taste Me was a 2009 Daphne Paranormal Winner and Golden Heart paranormal finalist under the title Underbelly. For more information, please visit www.tamarahogan.com/.
Contest Time! Tamara is giving away two copies of her new novel, Taste Me. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: If “first contact” has already occurred, who do you think could be hiding an supernatural ancestor somewhere? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered. (US/Canada only)
As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):
- +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
- +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
- +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
- +10 Purchase any novel through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.