The Rule of PrincesChanging The Rules

As a writer, the great allure of fantasy is the freedom it gives to work outside the constraints of the real world. This was part of what made my new book The Rule of Princes (Book 2 in the Kingdoms of Desire series) such a pleasure to write. I don’t have to hold myself back with ‘that would never happen’ doubts. I can just go right ahead and tell myself, ‘That’s how they do things there’.

Of course, this freedom isn’t absolute, and it gives rise to another form of discipline. In creating new histories and alternative belief systems, the watchword has to be consistency. Keeping track of what one group has said and done, so you can add to it sensibly, is essential. It’s no good mentioning in passing that one lot of people worship mice, only to have one casually treading on one later.

Not that anybody worships mice in this trilogy. But I try to make the social mores match up with the sexual mores of the different kingdoms as much as I can.

Here’s the blurb:

For fans of Game of Thrones comes an erotic journey for freedom – bringing about unexpected truths, love, and loyalty.

The sequel to the stunning erotic fantasy novel Princess In Chains.

With their leaders captured and imprisoned, the Valish Liberation fugitives must reach the Princes of Thren in order to plead their cause and sue for their support. Arvon must convince the Princes of his true royal identity if he is to succeed. Meanwhile, Taran discovers exactly why Sula is so reluctant to enter the royal palace. The past intrudes into the present and new alliances – and romances – are forged before the final reckoning looms.

And an excerpt:

‘There were many lessons in preparation,’ she told him. ‘Lessons about which perfumes to burn in the bedchamber and which to wear on the skin. How to conduct oneself with alluring grace. What foods quicken the senses and what wines heat the blood. What to wear beneath one’s gown.’
‘What? What was the answer to that one?’
‘There were different answers. The most common answer was nothing. But in Thren one can obtain undergarments that bring a blush to the most hardened cheek. And there are playthings, too, that the Valish imagination cannot encompass. But I am ahead of myself.’
‘No, don’t stint on my account.’
She patted Taran’s cheek.
‘First things first, dear Taran. On a Threnish lady’s wedding night, she anticipates her Lord in the chamber. She is advised to comport herself thus, on the marriage bed.’
Sula propped herself on an elbow and lay with her legs straight before her, parted just a fraction at the thighs.
‘Clothed?’ Taran was disappointed.
‘No. In one’s wedding nightgown. This is a poor substitute.’ She plucked at a coarse flannel tunic, which acted as both nightwear and an emergency second garment, should some accident befall her normal garb.
‘A wedding nightgown might be…sheerer?’ Taran suggested.
‘Yes, it would probably be diaphanous. The lady’s maid would have anointed the lady with aphrodisiac scented oils and her skin would shine and glimmer in the candlelight.’
‘Alas, we have no such oils.’
‘No. But my skin got wet enough out there.’
‘True. Would the maid have done anything else?’
‘No, apart from loosen the lady’s hair. She is left to wait, but not in ignorance like Valish maidens on their nuptial eve. A Threnish lady knows what is to come, and so it can be anticipated.’
‘Looked forward to?’
‘So one hopes. The Threnish believe that pleasure in the marriage bed is sacred, and a child born of a pleasure-filled union will be strong and thrive.’
‘That is a good belief.’
‘Not all of their beliefs are as good,’ conceded Sula. ‘The belief that all brides should be virgins and liable to punishment from their bridegroom if not is less palatable to me.’
‘Do you not think a bride should be pure?’
‘Some of the southern races are much more sensible about this matter. They allow license to all their young people. Danna told me that her mother and father had several lovers before they chose each other, and were consequently more secure in their choice.’
‘I see. I suppose that makes a kind of sense.’
‘You know it does. I would not, for instance, be considering sleeping with you if I held to the northern mores.’
‘You are?’ He grinned widely.
‘Perhaps. And, more to the purpose, I see that you do not scruple at the thought. Which means that you would be a hypocrite to punish your bride for taking some pleasure before settling into marriage.’
‘Oh, I would never punish my bride,’ protested Taran. ‘I would just…well…you know. It’s nice to be the first.’
‘She would not be your first,’ Sula pointed out waspishly.
‘No, but these things are less easily ascertained in a man.’
‘You mean, you could get away with it.’
He laughed. ‘I suppose I do. You are too clever for me, Sula of the blood of Gavenny.’
‘I doubt I am any cleverer than you. More sophisticated, that is all.’
‘If only I could have had a Maidenhall education.’
‘If only you could.’ She paused. ‘Shall we continue?’
‘Please.’ Taran waved a hand, bemused with excitement. ‘You are a Threnish lady on your wedding night awaiting your groom, and then…?’
‘Lo,’ said Sula. ‘He comes. He is clad in velvets and silks and cloth of gold, but he removes it all in the sight of his bride. He also has been taught how to do this in a manner pleasing to a woman.’
‘Is he a virgin?’
‘In theory. In practice, very rarely. Well, then, Taran. Let us see your graceful disrobing.’
‘Oh, I have not been taught!’
‘You must try your best.’
‘It is cold!’
‘Not for long…if you please me.’

The book is available now from Amazon:

And so is the first book in the series, Princess In Chains: