Recently Sirens Call Publications released it’s first romance/erotic anthology titles He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. True to form, we’re going to bring you guest posts from most of the authors who contributed stories, letting them share the inspiration behind what they wrote. First up is Rhiannon Fox, the author of North Star.
Rhiannon Fox is a whimsical writer who dreams up her stories nestled deep in the Welsh Valleys. The tales she weaves are as eclectic as her tastes, and when not writing she is just as likely to be found buried in a mosh pit as wandering through the wilderness in search of inspiration. Her debut fantasy erotica tales, the Elemental series, is due for release throughout summer 2013. Her website contact is https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rhiannonfox.
The Inspiration Behind North Star
The moment I read the submission call from Sirens Call I knew I had to write a story for this anthology. I’ve been an avid and unashamed romance reader since the days I read my mother’s Virginia Andrews books whenever my dad was out, but even back then I finished those stories feeling vaguely unsatisfied. It all seemed too perfect, too simple – and if real life is anything, it’s the very opposite of perfect and simple.
This anthology immediately filled that void, for it promised to look at both sides of the coin. There aren’t always happy endings, despite the Disney notions we’re brought up to believe in and search for. Without wanting to sound bitter and jaded, youth is full of illusions.
When you’re young, before life hardens you up, you think you’re untouchable. Everything seems so easy, and when reality hits home and you realise love isn’t all romance and roses, it’s one hell of a shock. Sometimes you can work through the bumps in the road, but sometimes they break you no matter how hard you try.
It’s that dilemma which Jess and Matt have to confront in North Star. Once the first flush of lust and passion fades away, what you’re left with is two people who have to find a way to live together – for better and for worse, and unfortunately it’s rarely as easy as we imagine it will be. That’s something Jess really struggles with over the course of their relationship, and Matt has to come to terms with a reality he’s been running from for far too long.
Matt’s an amalgamation of a few different men I’ve known. Sometimes men find it hard to talk about their emotions, but somehow when the ones I’ve known can hide behind the mask of performing on stage, it becomes far easier to let it through. Memories of that made it all too easy to see Matt sat cross-legged with his guitar, tears running down his face – and from that the rest of his and Jess’s story spilled forth.
North Star was a difficult story to write, but I hope some of the emotion I felt whilst writing it shines through to show that balanced side of love and relationships I’ve searched for in literature for so long. Too often you read only the extremes of perfection or nightmares, but we all know life isn’t as clean-cut as that. If you want a happy ending, you have to fight for it; and sometimes, even when you do, you discover the hardest thing is to realise when enough is enough.
All little girls, and some little boys, know the game He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. Each one who plays hopes to end on the He Loves Me petal. But how many of us really find that perfect mate? That one partner who will love us unconditionally for the rest of our lives? How many of us really live the dream, and how many live through the heartbreak of ending on the He Loves Me Not petal?
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is an anthology of ten stories told from ten different perspectives on love and romance. Some have happy endings, while others end in tears, on a note of desperation, or even a new beginning. A few of the stories are fantasies come true, some steamy encounters of wanton lust, and others still are tales of woe – but the one thing they all have in common – they answer the age old question; does he love me, or does he not?
North Star – Rhiannon Fox
Glynnis – Julianne Snow
The Headless Ladies – Brenda Moguez
Keeping Distance – Alex Chase
Don’t Call Me When He Tries To Kill You – Kerry G.S. Lipp
Freefall – Kate Monroe
Living in the Shades – Vincent Ashcroft
Ruby – Stephanie Nett
Control – Ara Lynn
Railroaded – O.M. Grey
And now it’s time for an excerpt…
Jess Jackson knew she’d polished the glass a dozen times over now, but still the grubby cloth in her fist moved in mechanical circles, buffing the wine glass until it gleamed under the harsh electric light that illuminated the bar. She was only going through the motions, but then that was all she’d been able to do since he left.
The low buzz of chatter and Led Zeppelin blasting out of the jukebox barely registered in her mind. It was an hour now until closing time, but all she had to look forward to was a night between cold and empty sheets before the same monotony began again at sunrise. It didn’t have to be that way; she’d had offers and plenty of them in the last two years. Some of her regulars made it clear they would be far from averse to keeping her company overnight, and a couple of them had even taken the time to get to know her. She allowed one to extract a promise of a date, but the problem was they were all unknowingly competing with a ghost from her past. None of them yet had been able to match up to all she’d lost.
A ripple in the air drew her eyes to the now open doors. The glass she was still polishing fell to the tiled floor with a loud crash, shattering into a hundred pieces as the world spun around her. Framed in the doorway was all she had feared and craved in equal measures for the past 672 days.
He was back.
As the door swung closed in his wake, he strolled towards her with his battered guitar slung casually over his shoulder and a spark in his soulful eyes that sent a shiver chasing down the full length of her spine. He always had the skill of making it seem as if he saw nobody in the room but her, and it seemed he had lost none of that particular talent. As she clutched at what little support the bar in front of her could offer, he came to a halt and set the palms of his hands against the tarnished wood, his tanned fingers standing out amongst the night’s discarded glasses and sticky rings of beer. Jess could see nothing now but him, and it seemed her discomposure was clear for him to read on her pale face. He nodded slowly, then finally spoke.
Matt flashed her a grim stare, full of the fierce defiance that had driven them apart as it dared her to remonstrate with him in full hearing of all those around them. They were already attracting intrigued stares from her regulars, making it plain, to her frustration, that the way his reappearance was affecting her was impossible to disguise.
Calling on all the reserves of strength she’d had no choice but to build up, she steadied her face again and coolly met his intent gaze. “Last time you darkened these doors I said you were barred, Jackson.”
He arched one dark brow. “But you never could say no to me for long, darling. You won’t grudge me one drink, surely?”
That was precisely what Jess intended to do, but now he was so near to her, somehow all compulsion to do so had receded out of her grasp. She whetted her lips and his eyes darkened.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for another inspiration piece from Stephanie Nett, author of Ruby!