Thursday, 31 October 2013

Fall Into Winter Romance Giveaway Hop

Hello and welcome to the Fall Into Winter Romance Hop, I am thrilled that you're here. I was being interviewed recently and was asked what I enjoyed the most about the erotic romance genre in which I write. I hadn't thought about it much before, which is often the way when you're so absorbed in something like writing,writing and writing, but as soon as I did the answer came to me. It's the huge spectrum of romance and sexiness in which I write.

By that I mean sweet, romantic vanilla couples, falling in love and falling into bed, kinky threesomes setting up a life together and having a whole pile of fun in the process and darker, more 'out there' BDSM tales.

I suppose if I were to put my novels on a spectrum of vanilla to on-the-edge-extreme it would go kind of like this...

I won't go into details of all my books, because as you can see there are quite a few, and that's just the longer ones that I've picked out for this scale. But if I just let you read the blurb for Breathe You In and then the Sexy as Hell Box Set you'll get a taste of the range.

Soul-aching desire was just the beginning!

If the road to Heaven starts in Hell then I was ready to start climbing my way out and Ruben Strong was the man to accompany me. With his devastating good looks, seductively sexy charm and lust for adrenaline he was sure to make it a sensual and erotic experience as well as one to re-awake the passionate, throw-caution-to-the-wind woman I’d once been.

I’d given Ruben something, though, without him realizing, and that gift had come from the man I’d loved before. But I couldn’t tell Ruben. I had to keep that a tight secret even as our naked bodies wound together, sought out pleasure and hit the dizzy heights of ecstasy as one. Because Ruben had my husband’s heart, literally, and that heart was still in love with me, so it seemed, and now I was in love with Ruben. 

Emotions tangled with bliss, and fears were locked away as I surrendered to the touch of Ruben’s hands, the taste of his skin and the sounds of his pleasure. I couldn’t deny that Ruben had brought me back to life the same way I had him and there was no way I was giving up that feeling, not for anyone.

Sexy as Hell - (Bargain price on Amazon for a limited time)

Sexy as Hell: an erotic trilogy that will submerge you into the black heart of a world of bondage and discipline, Dominance and submission, sadism and masochism.

Dare to take this twisting journey with Victor and you’ll learn the ropes with him, experience every carnal sensation and fall into a dark and dangerous love that grips like a fist and binds like a collar.

Get to know Zara, his sultry teacher, and you’ll gasp when she doles out her sinful instructions but then delight in the stunning results she not only demands but achieves. It seems Heaven and Hell are not so far apart when she holds the reins.

Victor has his layers peeled back, but when he does the same to try to get to his Vixen’s core, a revelation appears. Because Zara is a woman whose vast sexual experience is both her strength and her weakness; she can inflict pain and pleasure, make lusty demands and instruct, but she needs so much more, she needs…

Yes, the time has come to for her to admit to her needs and confess to the repairing her soul hungers for. A sea of memories, a lifetime of control requires an acknowledgement that will cut through her barriers, and there’s only one man up for the job—her virgin, her student, her newly trained monster, Victor Partridge.

Please note, in order to enjoy Victor and Zara’s adventures, the trilogy must be read in order.

Breathe You In is a story that germinated when I was working as a nurse. I guess it is this realism and the strength of memories that allowed me to write something as complex as falling in love with the man who has your husband's donated heart. I adored writing this book, I'd go as far as to say it is one of my very favourites even though it isn't kinky - though the bedroom door is left well and truly open - and there are just two people in the bed. But it's the depth of the emotion, the tangled conflict and the unusualness of Katie and Ruben's situation that gripped me as a writer.

When I look at my 'kink-o-metre' I notice that the edgier novels are generally written with my co-author Natalie Dae (we publish under the name Harlem Dae). I think this is because she is particularly fascinated by the BDSM lifestyle and that has sucked me in. Also we feel 'braver' as writer's to push plots to the very boundaries of the genre, experiment, take risks. We have each other to bounce things off, and certainly we've found our own limits by doing this. Something we possibly wouldn't have learned about ourselves if we hadn't co-authored.

Readers, like writers, all have a certain level of heat and raunch they want in a book, so for this giveaway I will offer one commentor the book of their choice from the above list. Just leave me note say which book appeals to you - click on them for more information - and your email address and I'll pick a name at random at the end of the hop.

Good luck on winning the grand prize of a $50 Amazon voucher, and have a fabulous day

Lily x


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 28 October 2013

Hot Halloween Heroes Blog Hop

Hot Halloween Heroes Giveaway Hop

A big welcome to the Hot Halloween Heroes Giveaway Hop. I hope you're ready for some spooky fun with my bad boy vampires. 

Soon to hit the shelves at Ellora's Cave, Bite Mark, my first paranormal erotic romance though if you look at the side bar on the right, you'll see it's by no means my first erotic romance. So why did I decide to dip my toes into the murky paranormal pond?

I was inspired, quite literally, a story wound itself around me, whispered through the mist and clung to my thoughts while I was in central London one damp and foggy morning. I was in the Smithfield area, which for those of you don't know, holds an enormous meat market housed in a stunning Victorian building. It's a working market 3 a.m. until 11a.m Mon-Fri. Butchers and chefs travel far and wide to trade here and it's a place I've been to many times because of it's close proximity to St Bartholomew's Hospital (where I worked for a while).

Smithfield Market has been around for many centuries and when you're there the history literally seeps into you. And it's a strange history because although it's trade and food and a living for many people it's also about death and blood and meat. It was this idea of blood that brought Ryle and Aimery to life, my two vampire heroes.

The few times I've been into Smithfield market itself, with a male friend, I've been acutely aware of being the only woman. This gave rise to my heroine, Beatrice. Beatrice is the only female butcher on the market and it is this that attracts both wanted and unwanted attention her way. Needless to say the story is hot, creepy, bloody and very erotic. I hope you'll watch this space for a release date.

Thank you for stopping by and please leave a comment (and your email address) below to be in with a chance to win a copy of Breathe You In, my sexy romance with a twist that will make you wonder what's on the 'other side'.

Soul-aching desire was just the beginning!

If the road to Heaven starts in Hell then I was ready to start climbing my way out and Ruben Strong was the man to accompany me. With his devastating good looks, seductively sexy charm and lust for adrenaline he was sure to make it a sensual and erotic experience as well as one to re-awake the passionate, throw-caution-to-the-wind woman I’d once been.

I’d given Ruben something, though, without him realizing, and that gift had come from the man I’d loved before. But I couldn’t tell Ruben. I had to keep that a tight secret even as our naked bodies wound together, sought out pleasure and hit the dizzy heights of ecstasy as one. Because Ruben had my husband’s heart, literally, and that heart was still in love with me, so it seemed, and now I was in love with Ruben. 

Emotions tangled with bliss, and fears were locked away as I surrendered to the touch of Ruben’s hands, the taste of his skin and the sounds of his pleasure. I couldn’t deny that Ruben had brought me back to life the same way I had him and there was no way I was giving up that feeling, not for anyone.

5* reviews for Breathe You In

"I absolutely LOVED reading this. Lily has really excelled herself with this extremely moving romance novel, managing to stir up a whole range of emotions within the reader."

"This is not as kinky or erotic as some of Lily Harlem's other books, but what we lose in kink and eroticism is more than made up for in emotion and character depth. You could feel every emotion it was so well written. I don't often cry while reading but I did here. I can't say much without going into the plot so I'll leave there. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone and everyone."

"Read this tender, emotional love story for yourself and end up with a warm wonderful feeling and brighten your day."

"Lily Harlem knocks this one out of the park. It is one of her more tame stories but the sweetness and depth of emotion carried me away. Katie and Ruben are characters you can't help falling in love with over and over again as the blush of love chases darkness and death out of both of their lives. A thrilling and sexy read by one of today's most talented erotica writers."

Oh, and if you're the type who can't resist a bargain, the Sexy as Hell Box Set (written by myself and Natalie Dae) is at a reduced price on Amazon for a limited time. For only $1.24/77p you get three complete novels, The Novice, The Player and The Vixen PLUS three secondary spin-off stories. Quick, go, run, grab your copy and tell all of your friends - the ones who like BDSM that is!


Hot Halloween Heroes Giveaway Hop

5* for Breathe You In

I've had a brilliant 5* review for Breathe You In, my sexy m/f romance with a twist. Here is what You Gotta Read says...

Katie Lansdale is sifting through the pieces of her shattered life. Eighteen months earlier, a construction accident claimed the life of her beloved husband Matt. He was her whole world; every part of her life centered around being Matt’s wife. Now, she is an emotional and physical wreck. She’s lost weight. Her friends try to help by pushing her to go after life again, but she just can’t let Matt go. Katie’s grief is a tangible, palpable thing and it ripped my heart out from the beginning of this beautiful story of loss and finding love again.

After the accident, Katie chose to donate Matt’s organs. Almost a little mad with grief, she becomes obsessed with the need to know who received Matt’s heart and lungs. She needs to see the recipient healthy and thriving, to know that the heart that loved her so much still beats. This might have been a little odd for some readers, but showing the depth of Katie’s grief made her initial actions acceptable in my eyes. People do odd things when they are grieving. She only wants a peek at the man from afar. It seems harmless, until she bumps into Ruben Strong in the museum where he works and falls in love.

Ruben was a real live wire. A Formula One mechanic, he lived his life in the fast lane of racing. Fast cars and faster women were his thing. And then, his heart starting fading away. After his heart transplant, he’s slowed down, works at a museum and lives a quite careful life. He and Katie click immediately. He doesn’t know that she is the donor’s widow. This makes for a strong conflict between the pair. Ruben is a broken hero, broken but still whole. He needs to feel alive again and Katie does that for him.

Any more and I’d be giving away the story. Breathe You In is both sexy and sweet, tragic and hopeful. The level of emotion Ms. Harlem evokes not only from the characters but the reader as well shows a rare gift. In a few short pages, she managed to make me cry, laugh, and yearn for this couple to connect. Breathe You In has become my favorite title by Ms. Harlem to date. As always, I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for her readers.

Soul-aching desire was just the beginning!

If the road to Heaven starts in Hell then I was ready to start climbing my way out and Ruben Strong was the man to accompany me. With his devastating good looks, seductively sexy charm and lust for adrenaline he was sure to make it a sensual and erotic experience as well as one to re-awake the passionate, throw-caution-to-the-wind woman I’d once been.

I’d given Ruben something, though, without him realizing, and that gift had come from the man I’d loved before. But I couldn’t tell Ruben. I had to keep that a tight secret even as our naked bodies wound together, sought out pleasure and hit the dizzy heights of ecstasy as one. Because Ruben had my husband’s heart, literally, and that heart was still in love with me, so it seemed, and now I was in love with Ruben. 

Emotions tangled with bliss, and fears were locked away as I surrendered to the touch of Ruben’s hands, the taste of his skin and the sounds of his pleasure. I couldn’t deny that Ruben had brought me back to life the same way I had him and there was no way I was giving up that feeling, not for anyone.

Read the first chapter of Breathe You In here.

BDSM Boudoir

Oh, I've found a nice, new blog about BDSM and all things erotic writing. The owner, Alice, is keeping a diary and it sounds like she's just at the beginning of quite a journey. Fun polls too...

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Review for Sexy as Hell Trilogy!

After all the upset of book #1 in the Sexy as Hell Trilogy, The Virgin, having to be renamed The Novice due to a dispute with Amazon last week, Natalie and I are now thoroughly cheered with the most amazing set of reviews from massive romance/erotica ebook review site Long and Short Reviews

This reviewer totally 'got' what we were trying to do with the characters and the plot. She, or perhaps he, understood that Victor was sinking into a world he was both repelled and fascinated by and how he struggled to first feel his own sexuality, then accept it and finally embrace it. Plus the dynamics between him and Zara and the complex web they weave around themselves and their friends and family has really been articulately and enthusiastically written about in this review...

I'll let you read the three reviews for yourselves

Winter is on its way – with long, cold nights ahead – and Zara Watson has unconsciously been looking for a project. Searching the coffee shops and picking up a number of one night stands, it’s not until she lets Victor Partridge take her home that she finally understands what she’s been seeking. A man to teach exactly what she likes and how she wants it done. A man to shag silly, going hard until they’re both wrung dry. Someone to guide through the shocking, thrilling aspects of her far-from-ordinary life. Initially at least, Victor thinks he’s the one in control – and Zara is about to show him how very wrong he can be. A naughty bet and exotic night opens both their eyes to the tasty possibilities.

Wow. Holy freaking wow. This book blew away all my expectations in the best way imaginable. Be warned, this isn’t some prissy little story where the hero makes “violent” love to his woman while holding her tenderly, or stroking her hair and whispering sweet nothings in her ear. Nor is this book about a skittish woman needing to be seduced, tutored in the art of sex while love blossoms and develops at a staid pace between them. This book explodes in your face from the very first sentence and takes you on an emotional and sexual roller coaster from those titillating starting words all the way to the very end.

The authors have managed in the space of one book to shock me, tempt me, seduce me and absolutely open my eyes. Let me be clear though – this in no way is for the faint of heart and I can completely believe it won’t be every reader’s cup of tea. But I loved it. The Virgin (now The Novice) managed to do everything Fifty Shades didn’t for me. It was real, honest, up front and in your face but without being offensive or over the top. The authors walked that deliciously fine line between being outrageous without crossing into putting me off. Neither did they err on the side of caution and end up being so soft as to invite ridicule (like so many other novels).

At times I did wonder whether I liked Zara Watson, and I could well believe others won’t find her at all comfortable. But that was one of the things that kept me turning the pages well past my bedtime. Zara pushes the boundaries, indeed some she smashed right through and doesn’t even pause to apologise. She is not a comfortable, or even easily understood, character. While at a first glance Victor is in comparison quite normal. But I saw these hints of more in him. And toward the end I wonder if Victor didn’t see his own depths as well. The longer I read the more I came to appreciate not just both their differences, but how they truly learned from each other – although Zara might never have admitted so.

While Victor was (understandably) reticent in places – Zara truly can be so forward as to be considered a force of nature – nowhere was any action non-consensual. This was an odyssey for both Victor and Zara. An exploration through the world of BDSM and most particularly themselves. I can’t be too much more specific or I might spoil it for some, but let me say this: if you want to be taken on a ride that steals your breath, makes you think outside the box and leaves you squirming in your seat both with sexy naughty feelings and discomfort at your boundaries being pushed, this is the book for you. Like anything that makes you feel strongly it’s both wonderful and shocking, breathtaking and uneasy all rolled up into a glorious, far-too-brief ride. I’m very glad I have the second book – The Player – right here ready to start as soon as I can finish typing. Because I need the next book about as much as my next breath. The ending isn’t on a cliff hanger as such – but the story is clearly far from over, and the teasing hint of “continue the story in book 2” is an offer I just can’t refuse.

Victor Partridge is dating Catherine, the sweet, wholesome niece of his long-serving secretary. They have a normal, outwardly happy relationship. But deep inside his soul, Victor wants more. More passion, more freedom to indulge in just a few of his dirty little desires – but he doesn’t want to ruin things with Catherine. Add in a healthy dose of pride standing in his way from admitting just how much his previous paramour, Zara, is still on his mind and Victor has a lot on his plate right now. Zara Watson has opened her new dungeon, but is struggling to truly enjoy it. When Ollie – Victor’s cousin – comes by one night insisting he wants her to be his Mistress at first she refuses, but a few choice words from Ollie soon has her changing her mind.

This is a raunchy, wickedly naughty book full of so much heat you’ll need safety gloves to handle it. The second book in a trilogy, I believe it could be read as a stand alone – but the depth and intricacies of what’s happening (and simultaneously *not* happening) between Victor and Zara really needs the first book, The Virgin/The Novice, to be read before this. Still, anyone who just happens to pick this book up should be able to read and thoroughly enjoy it just by itself.

I must admit I felt a lot warmer towards Zara this time around. For the first quarter or so of the book, Zara is floundering, not in her usual position of control and power and I enjoyed seeing that. She knew she needed to stay away from Victor but she still cares very deeply for him, even loving him – though she seems uncomfortable admitting it to herself. With her not in control I felt she was less severe, less able (or willing) to stir the pot just for kicks. I have to admit I liked her all the more for this other side to her that we catch fleeting glimpses of. Of course this didn’t last long, soon Zara had mastered the situation and her clever, manipulative brain sorts out how all four of them come together in Tuscany.

Although the much-loved Zara, Domme extraordinaire and sexy, naughty woman who knows exactly how to get what she wants is firm and present, there are now a few chinks in her armour. I must be honest, as a reader I appreciated this and became deeply curious about what else lay beneath that surface. I finally managed to see a little of the even more complex woman behind her blasé, forceful façade, and that enriched this read for me more than I thought possible. Far from resting on their laurels, Harlem Dae have made already complex, intriguing characters even deeper in this book, and I commend them on the excellence of their plotting, pacing, imaginations and writing.

Victor made me laugh in certain places. He seems so normal and utterly relatable. Here is a man who has been thrown in the deep end of a BDSM lifestyle, simultaneously loved and hated it and managed to claw his way back to the safety of the shore. He still wants to dip his toe in, but is determined to retain some semblance of peace and what he thinks his life should be. His deep attachment to Zara is clear, as is his struggle and desire to grow those feelings for Catherine. This is a wonderfully complex book, with rich, vibrant characters and a convoluted plot that kept me eagerly turning the pages – no rest for the wicked, honestly!

I felt joy, sympathy, annoyance, pleasure and a host of other emotions all throughout the entire book. This is not a simple story, easily summarized in a review. The whole trilogy – but this book in particular in my opinion – is about life. About moving on and knowing when to look back, learning when to give up and when to hold on, and most importantly learning when we should knuckle down and push for what we truly want and when to let it all go.

In some respects I found this book to be a bit of a breather. After the intensity and roller coaster ride of the first novel, this book solidifies so much. It’s a chance for Zara and Victor to both take a breath, sort out themselves and what they desire, to explore their own boundaries and get their heads on straight. In that sense this book isn’t as soul baring or emotionally pummeling as the first – but to be honest I don’t think my heart could have taken another wild ride so swiftly after reading Book 1.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters better, seeing them in a slightly less wild situation (please note the *slightly*) and hope they can both learn and grow from what they’ve experienced. I am eagerly, desperately craving to start Book 3, The Vixen, immediately.

A beautiful, extraordinary read and highly recommended.

Amazon   Amazon UK

Victor Partridge and Zara Watson are together once again and doing a test run of their new, ever-changing relationship with a weekend in Venice. Victor thought they could try to explore the more loving side of their relationship, to see if there could be a balance, but he didn’t expect for Zara to start opening herself so fully to him. Zara has never been anything other than a handful, a changeable, marvelous force of nature, and now is no different. The roller coaster continues, a beautiful hue of colors that defy description. Both Victor and Zara are determined to see if they can come together and make something perfect out of what has held such promise and potential.

Once again I’m blown away, not just be the plot and writing but with how amazing all the facets of this book come together. Victor and Zara are just as complex and multi-layered as ever, but finally we’re under all those exterior layers people naturally have and I’m seeing their true hearts and souls. Zara begins to open herself to Victor, to really tell him about herself. I found this helped me see how she ticks and what I read was amazing and devastating at the same time. This is no ordinary romance novel and I’d not have it any other way. This book makes you gasp for breath, ignore real life going on around you and devour every page to see what happens next. Zara has been incredibly hurt in her past, and with Victor’s gentle support together they face some of her demons. This makes for some heart-rendering scenes – both tender and provocative, and some of these experiences will not be for everyone.

This is not a traditional book or even like others I’ve read which push some boundaries. One scene in particular includes play-acting, collaring and pretending to be an animal and might shock some readers. Throughout the entire trilogy however, I’ve found every envelope-pushing scene to be written with excruciating care and taste. Never once have I felt revolted or as if the characters were being derogatory or abused – but others might not feel the same and there are a number of taboos breeched throughout this book: particularly fisting and body fluid scenes. Personally, I found the whole book (taboos and all) wonderfully written and even when I wanted to look away, or take a break, I simultaneously needed to read further, the strength of that being more than my desire to step back. And *that* is skillful writing to my mind. As a reader our questions about Zara are answered, the authors have laid her bare and so much of her is left still wonderfully complex, but now understandable as well. Victor is a sweetheart, and while I’ve adored his character from the start, his strength, his inner emotional power and his deep love for Zara just makes him even more amazing in my eyes. This book is not the ending (or solidifying) of Zara and Victor, but the first steps of what I know will be a life-long wild ride for them both together. While I’d always want more, I can’t imagine other readers not being satisfied with the way Harlem Dae have wrapped this series up.

Much like Book 2 – The Player – I believe if you picked this up not knowing it was the final in a trilogy you could still thoroughly enjoy Zara and Victor’s story and follow along as they solidify their relationship. However the story is far richer from being there from their beginning and I feel to truly enjoy it as it’s meant, reading this trilogy in order is needed. The complexities of their characters, the million strong threads binding them and creating who and what they are can only (in my opinion) be fully understood and appreciated having read these books in order. This story, The Vixen, is complete in itself though and stands perfectly well alone, but I would strongly recommend starting at the start and working through these in order.

A brilliant end to an amazing trilogy, I’d recommend this series for anyone wanting a deeply complex, incredibly intense read that pushes the envelope further and with more taste than many others. I’d suggest readers – particularly those wanting to expand their literary horizons – try this, but read the various warnings carefully, as there are many scenes that are not commonly touched upon.

In the end though, these authors write everything with style, care and such talent I’m pleased to have these additions on my shelves and know I’ll read them again in the future. Not a comfortable book (or series), this nevertheless balances perfectly between too much and not quite enough. I can’t imagine anyone reading it and not wanting more, so amazing is the mix of characters, plot, kink and emotion. A marvelous read that took me to dizzying highs and terrifying lows and a series I can strongly recommend to everyone willing to step on board for the ride of a lifetime.

Amazon   Amazon UK

Find out more about Sexy as Hell on the Harlem Dae website, check out the FREE Harlem Dae magazine and the three secondary character spin-off stories that are hot, hot, hot!

Why not treat yourself to the entire Sexy as Hell Box Set at a bargain price of $1.24 or 77p for a limited time only (So tell all of your friends!) - Amazon   Amazon UK

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors #WeWrWa #SundaySnippet

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, this week 8 from my new release Joy Ride, part of the Spice Rack series. It's hot, it's saucy and it's definitely naughty! Kim and Nate are on their way home after dropping the kids at their grandparents, their 'task', according to the jar they opened from the Spice Rack was to express their love on the move, and on the way home, in the car, while Nate is driving, Kim has the perfect idea...well sort of!

She took him deeper still and was rewarded with a wonderful moan of bliss that drowned out the sounds around her.

Almost, because one sound was becoming louder and louder. The wail unmistakable.

Kimberly opened her eyes and saw a blue flash wash over Nate’s black sweater.


Quickly she let him fall from her mouth into her waiting palm.

“Shit.” Nate said, “Shit, shit, shit.” He shoved at her. “Sit up, goddamn it. Oh fuck.”

Find out more about Spice Rack, Joy Ride and the other books in the series on my website!

Lily x


Friday, 25 October 2013

Sexy as Hell Box Set Out Now - Only $1.24/77p!

Yes, that's right, after the debacle with Amazon last week and having to change the title of the first book in the Sexy as Hell Trilogy to The Novice (from The Virgin) we have now released the box set at a bargain price to ensure all of our readers, old and new, have full and easy access to Victor's wild ride into the world of BDSM.

Go, quick, grab your copy of not just The Novice, The Player and The Vixen, but also the three spin-off short stories, The Mistress, The Star and The Harlequin. It will only be at this price for a limited time so be sure to tell all of your friends about it too.

Find out more on the Harlem Dae website and read the FREE magazine with all the Sexy as Hell gossip!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Spooky Smut in the City!

Hello and welcome to my turn to host Spooky Smut in the City, I'm so glad you made it! At present I don't have any paranormal books published, though coming soon to the virtual shelves is Bite Mark. I can't wait to unleash my two sexy vampires Aimery and Ryle into the world. Phew, they're hot, cold, bad and oh, so good all at the same time!

So when it came to finding something scary to post today I had to have a look at my book list. I actually surprised myself in that several of my stories have 'spooky' or rather 'unearthly' scenes in them. The first one that sprang to mind was in the very first chapter of Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse.

Our heroine, Sharon, has just finished preparing a body for the mortuary (or Rose Cottage as it is commonly known within the hospital) and something strange happens. What you probably should know before you read this bit is that before I started writing erotic romance I worked for many years as a nurse and this scene really is straight from my memories, in other words, this did happen...

Mr Parslow was now fresh and dressed. Annie and I quickly tidied the room, did an inventory of his meagre belongings – splayed toothbrush, red comb strung with silver hairs, a half packet of toffees and several items of nightwear in various states of cleanliness – then we wrapped him in a paper-thin shroud and covered him with a clean sheet.
Annie left and I dropped the last of the damp towels into a linen skip.
A sudden bang on the window caught my attention. I turned and stared into the bleak darkness. The blind hadn’t been drawn over the slightly open pane and a feathery flash of silver-white knocked up against the glass. Once, twice, three times.
Curious, I stepped closer, trying to discern what was buffeting the rain- splattered window with firm insistence.
A gasp of surprise caught in my throat. It was a dove, out at night, in a gale.
‘What on earth are you doing?’ I bent and peered closer.
A black, beady eye’s attention settled on mine for the briefest of moments, then the dove took off, into the night, its wings ethereal and ghost-like, flapping against the wind.
I glanced at the mound on the bed and fought a prickle of unease tickling the back of my neck. Odd things happened in a hospital, but a dove, at night; that had been a first.
Quickly I shut the window. Mr Parslow’s soul had had ample time to depart. All that remained was his shell, so there was no need to have an escape route for his spirit to start its journey to Heaven; and I was pretty certain it would be Heaven, what with having a white dove coming to collect him on a storm-wild night.

Yes, that really did happen, nearly 20 years ago now but I still remember it vividly. Sharon wouldn't be the only nurse to open the window when preparing a body to let a patient's soul out, it's standard procedure.

Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse is published by Mischief at HarperCollins. Buy links available here.

This next snippet comes from Breathe You In, another story that was borne from my nursing years. I worked in Coronary Care for a long time and that included some time working with transplant patients. I got to thinking about a girl (Katie) falling in love with the man (Ruben) who had her beloved dead husband's heart. It's a complex twist of emotions and there is room to play with supernatural elements in a plot like this. However I choose not to... almost, there are a few snippets that could give the reader a clue to there being more going on beneath the surface than first appears. Also the cover, the peacock feather, is an ancient symbol of immortality and it was once believed that peacock flesh didn't rot, I guess, in a way, like a transplanted organ, that continues to live after death. I also like how the feather is slightly heart-shaped.

This snippet is taken from midway through the book. Ruben doesn't know that he received Katie's husband's heart, as far as he is concerned he's well again and happy to be dating. Katie, although she carries the burden of not telling him the truth, is just relieved to be out of the dark depression she was in. The dream that Ruben has in this excerpt... a memory of Matt's perhaps? See what you think.

I bustled about in the kitchen making pasta with tuna and a side salad. Ruben poured us each a glass of water and set the table. He then sat on the sofa, remote control in his hand, and flicked through the channels.
My new flat felt alive, as if it were a real home. The sweet, grassy breeze ambled from the living room to the kitchen. The pan on the stove was bubbling away, creating steam that clung to the window. The tangy smell of the onions I’d fried filled my nose, and I could hear the TV, only the news, someone talking, but knowing Ruben was in the living room, that it wouldn’t be empty and soulless when I moved from one room to the other, created a feeling of hope in me—one that made me warm and content for the first time in a long time.
I also felt I knew Ruben better for having seen a glimpse into his old life. Understood how much he’d had to change because of his illness. Maybe he was right. Perhaps he would go back to his old job one day. Return to a wild, hedonistic, fast life of racing and globe trotting and leggy women with perfect bodies. I couldn’t show him my old life, or ever go back to it, but it had been nice to see his.
I flicked the pasta off the boil and stood in the kitchen doorway, one hand on the frame, pushing my hair from my face with the other.
Ruben looked up. Stared at me. He pulled in a deep breath and frowned.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Yes, I…”
I didn’t move. “What?”
“It’s just…”
“Tell me?”
He smiled. “You’ll think I’m being stupid.”
“No I won’t.”
“I had a dream last night, it just came back to me, really vivid.”
“What was it about?” I straightened.
“Me?” I couldn’t deny the little thrill that word gave me, to think I’d been in this handsome man’s dream.
“You were stood, just like that, in a doorway, holding the side, fiddling with your hair.”
“Whose doorway?”
He silenced the TV. Put the remote on the tall table by the sofa. “Mine. My bedroom.”
“I see.”
He trailed his gaze down my body. Licked his lips.
“And what was I wearing?” I asked. Part of me was desperate to know, the other part afraid to ask. This was a new way for me to be with anyone other than Matt.
“White,” he said. “You were in white.”
“A dress?”
He smiled, shook his head. “Oh, no, white stockings with lace around your thighs. White teeny, tiny knickers and a corset-style top, you know that…” He put his cupped hands on his chest and smiled. “That made you look really pretty here.”
“Sounds like a very detailed dream.”
“It was. It was hot.” He nodded, bit on his bottom lip. “You were hot.”
A tremble started in my stomach and moved lower. Ruben thought I was hot. Hot enough to dream in detail about me. That in itself was like being kissed passionately. It turned my attraction for him to top level; it made me feel like the woman I had been once.
I even remembered a white outfit like that. It was something I’d taken on honeymoon, to Thailand, to surprise Matt with one night. I could almost see his face again. His eyes instantly heavy with lust, his lips moist where he’d licked them the moment I’d appeared in the doorway.
Ruben was wearing the same look now, and he shifted on the sofa the same way Matt had shifted on the bed.
Taking a deep breath, I walked toward Ruben, wishing I had that outfit on, and straddled his lap. I dug my knees into the cushions and I rested my hands on his shoulders, let my bum settle on his thighs.
“Tell me more?” I said in what I hoped was a suitably sexy voice.
Ruben swallowed, frowned a little and looked into my eyes. “We were alone, there was only us there. It was warm, you smelled of fruit—papaya, melon, all things sweet.”
I smiled. “This is a very specific dream.”
He touched my cheek with the back of his index finger. “I know, and it’s all flooding back to me like it was a real memory.”

I adored writing Breathe You In, it's not as wild and kinky as some of my other work but the characters had been calling to me for years to tell their story. Reviews have been all 5* and if you want to pick a copy up it's available only on Amazon (and UK).

Now to the opposite end of the spectrum. While Breathe You In is sexy and poignant, Dangerous to Know is all about a seedy fantasy being realised. If you like romance with your erotica this isn't a book for you. Be warned...

The heroine has a dangerous fantasy of being a whore. But she's taken it one step further, rather than playing a game with someone she knows and trusts she's gone out of her way to find a stranger, a dark, brooding, unpredictable stranger who adds the final element of danger to her fantasy. Writing without romance is different from my usual style but I wanted to create a piece that was about a woman taking control of her darkest desires and turning them into reality, I'm not saying it was sensible, I was just writing a story...

“I’ll pay you to suck my cock.”
Inside I welled with triumph. The idea of sex as an arrangement, a transaction, was what thrilled me the most. No emotions, no strings. A customer, money and a murky act. That was what appealed to me. Forget candlelit seduction and emotional intimacy, I wanted sleaze, I wanted filth, I wanted to be used as a sexual object by a rough bloke who took what he wanted on a very basic level.
“Okay. Where?” I asked.
He glanced left and right, his gaze searching, then nodded straight ahead. “Down there.”
I looked in the direction he’d indicated. Through the trees and railings, I could just make out a gap in the buildings. “It’ll cost you twenty.”
He shrugged. “Whatever.”
Finally closing my legs, I stood. My knees felt weak and my stomach clenched. This was something I’d been dreaming of, plotting for so long. Never had I thought I’d find the courage to actually go through with my foolhardy plan. The man was a stranger. He could be a complete psychopath and murder me the minute we were out of view. Stuff like that happened to whores all the time. I’d seen it on the news, read about it in papers.
It was a risk I was willing to take.
Stepping ahead, I turned to make sure he was following. He was. Sauntering in that menacingly purposeful stride of his that I’d become totally fascinated by. I also realized now that I was on ground level how tall he was, a whole head above me, and wide too. If he did set his mind to subjecting me to a gruesome back-alley death there was nothing I would be able to do about it. He could squash me as if I were an ant, choke me without breaking a sweat.
Tugging at my cheap, tarty skirt, I headed for the location of my first whore experience. As we reached the entrance, he pressed a hand into the small of my back and urged me into the murky world of New York’s dark, dingy alleys. The scent of rotting food and urine caught in my nostrils, underfoot there was trash of every description, and here there was no sunlight. It was dark, cool, barely even a hint of the bright, civilized world beyond.
As we went deeper the alley narrowed, the walls closing in around me. The stinking air here was humid and clogged my throat.
“Keep going,” he grunted when I slowed. “I don’t want to be distracted by anyone. Walk farther down.”
Hurrying, I accidently kicked a bottle. It clanged against a pockmarked wall and ricocheted into an armored door with a peeling “Keep Out” sign.
Another ten steps and he tugged me behind a filthy green Dumpster and pushed my back against the wall. I stared at him boldly, un-intimidated—or so I hoped, for inside I was a bag of nerves sinking into a deep well of lust.
His gaze flashed as it connected with mine and he stared, stared long and hard with his big hands wrapped around my upper arms. His fingers sank into my flesh and his feet and knees knocked against mine.
My heart beat so fast I feared for its continued survival. I could barely catch my breath. Was he about to kill me or would he stick to our deal? Twenty for a blowjob? That was our agreement. That was the arrangement.
“You really want to be a whore?” he asked. His breath was hot and reeked of tobacco. “My whore?”
Both relief and excitement tumbled in my groin. He was going to play my game, thank God. I nodded up at him and he leaned against me, his chest just touching my excited nipples and his steely cock pressing into my hipbone. He was slightly out of breath—from our fast walk or sexual excitement?
Sliding his hands up and over the balls of my shoulders, he pressed and urged me down onto my knees. I sank obediently. I wasn’t proud of the huge glut of pleasure that surged through me at being forced into position to suck a stranger’s cock for money, but I couldn’t deny it. It was alive, real, a part of me. It was one of the most erotic things I’d ever done.

* * * * *
Dangerous to Know is available from Amazon, Amazon UK, ARe, Ellora's Cave and all other good ebook retailers.

Thank you for stopping by my Spooky Smut in the City post, I hope you have a wonderful day and a frightful Halloween!

Lily x