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I have to thank Patricia for letting me chat a bit on her blog today (no thank you!). I mean how can I not be thrilled to be asked about my new erotic romance MASQUE? Especially when this story was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” first published in 1842? Yes, I write erotic romances inspired by the classics despite that some may think that they are inspired by or some other type of adult site. But seriously I can’t help it. I love both J

The biggest challenge in using classic literature as inspiration is figuring out how to take key elements of the story and bring them to contemporary times. In the case of MASQUE, I decided that my hero would remain a Victorian era hero in Nova Scotia and my heroine would be a present day woman from America. There is just something about a man from the past that appears to be just a bit more male and little less civilized. Except with Synn, my hero. He is very civilized, but also very well versed in the various sexual activities involved in the Masque.

Another way I chose to connect the original story with present day was to keep the Abbey that Poe describes in his story, complete with iron gates, crenellated roof top and seven colored entertainment rooms. For Rena, the heroine, this is the perfect building to renovate for her proposed haunted bed-and-breakfast. Of course the resident ghosts, and there are many, are dressed to the nines in period clothing complete with bustles, puffed shoulders, high waistcoats and top hats.

Plus, I had to include the masque that Poe’s original story featured. I even made up my own rules. At Synn’s masque, anyone who puts aside their mask (held on a stick) or removes their mask (tied on with black ribbon) will reveal their name. However, if they keep their mask on, then their name is not given. Synn is careful to insure that Rena wears her mask in every one of the Pleasure Rooms, and each room requires she wear a different mask. Some of her masks include a simple peach, a gold butterfly, and one with peacock feathers.

So to celebrate MASQUE, it seemed only fair that I allow my readers the chance to win a beautiful Venetian mask made in Italy. Leave me a comment and let me know if there are any classic stories that you love. Maybe it will give me ideas for future stories J

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Here’s a peek inside the MASQUE. Enjoy, Lexi

An image of the lone man standing on the battlements crowded her head. “Do you mind if I run upstairs? I really want to see the sunset.”

Valerie took three loaves of bread from the first bag. “Yeah, yeah, go. But don’t expect me to make dinner.”

“That’s a deal.” Spinning around, Rena ran up the stairs to her wing of the Abbey. Striding through the hallway toward the back, she found another set of stairs leading to the floor above, which had a similar hall. By the time she reached the end of that hall, she was at the front of the Abbey again, only here there was a stone spiral staircase. Carefully, she ascended.

At the top, a wooden door stood open and she stepped outside into the fading light of day, but it wasn’t the sunset that arrested her attention. Synn stood, one foot braced on an embrasure, one hand resting on the crenellated stone of the battlement. The breeze lifted his long brown hair away from his face and off his shoulders…his very bare shoulders.

Oh shit. She hadn’t expected his back to be so broad and muscular. His biceps stood in stark relief as if he worked construction. Below his narrow waist, his firm ass and muscular thighs were outlined by his tight gray pantaloons, if she had the term right. She’d bet the boots he wore were Hessians because those were the only nineteenth-century boots she’d heard of that rose to the knee. To call the man handsome would be to belittle his sculpted perfection, and her heart increased its beat as raw, sexual attraction rifled through her limbs.

He brought his arm down, causing the muscles in his back to ripple before he turned to catch her staring.

Her gaze shifted to his eyes and for a moment they revealed such heartbreaking anguish that all sexual heat fled and her stomach tightened into a sorrowful knot. He shuttered his gaze and smirked. “Were you looking for something?”

Confused, and more than a little distracted by the man’s emotions and his highly defined pectoral muscles, one of which had a fist-sized dark spot, she grasped for logic. “Yes, the sunset.”

“Ah, then you are just in time.” He stepped to the side, bowed and swept his hand toward the battlement. “It’s ready for you, my lady.”

She searched his eyes for any sign that he made fun of her, but found only sincerity. “Thank you.”

She stepped up to the place next to him as indicated and gazed across the town. As she suspected, the ocean was a few blocks past the shops and it glittered red as the setting sun shimmered off its dark surface, its waves lifting and lowering the dazzling color as it moved.

“This is breathtaking.”

“Yes, it is.”

His tone made her glance up, and she found him staring at her. She swallowed.

He released her hair from its clip and the breeze swept it from her face. She couldn’t have looked away from his eyes even if the sun had turned green.

He cupped her jaw with his hand. “You are exquisite.”

Her breath hitched at his words, but her mouth parted as his face drew closer to hers. When their lips were but a breath away, he spoke again. “You are made for passion, Rena.”

She let her eyes close, his words shooting pure desire through her, and then his full lips were upon hers. It was not a gentle kiss, but neither was it harsh or demanding, simply controlled. The hand holding her face encouraged her to open her lips and she did.

She grasped his biceps as his tongue swept into her mouth to explore. He tasted like cinnamon spice but not sweet. When his arm snaked around her waist and pulled her closer, she entwined her arms around his neck, her body tight against his hard one. Unable to stem the growing need building inside her, she pressed her hips into his. A long, hard cock greeted her. She wanted him.

Synn groaned and released her, stepping away.

She grabbed at the embrasure to keep herself from falling on her ass. What the hell was that?

He turned toward the sunset again, his body in perfect profile, his hands clenched at his sides.

Not sure if she was upset because he stopped the kiss or because he started it in the first place, she gritted her teeth. Her body ached for release and she wanted him to provide it, no matter what her mind said. Her sexual frustration gave her a bravery she rarely had. “Why did you stop kissing me?” She had hoped to sound matter-of-fact, but hurt crept into her voice. Did he find her beneath him?

He remained motionless, speaking to the horizon. “If I didn’t stop now, I wouldn’t be able to. You are not ready for me yet.”

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