Ferris Ryder has a choice to make. He can reclaim the past, which he now consciously keeps from his memories, or he can let all that he fears to remember destroy the present and the Elemental Coven he has come to love. Has the mysterious Elaine come into his life to be his guiding angel or will she tear his world apart, along with that of his coven family?
Carefully, he slid out from under the duvet and made sure Fiori was well tucked in, even knowing as he did that no harm from the cold would come to her, not really. She hadn’t drawn breath in almost two years now. Strange, he thought, as he pushed into his clothes, his eyes still locked on the sleeping ghost, who still maintained her physicality so that she could endure, even relish, the torture of the Dream World. Strange that one who was dead should seem so much more alive than he. In truth it was as though he were the ghost that haunted the halls of Elemental Cottage when everyone else rested. And in all honesty, his flesh had only begun to matter to him as more than a vessel to serve Cassandra since his arrival at Elemental Cottage. Flesh, at Elemental Cottage, was a grounding in which powerful magic took place. As he dressed, he rested his hand against his cock through his trousers and felt it stretch to his touch. Imagine his surprise when he found, upon his arrival, that his own flesh once again had desires, that food and drink and sex and flesh against flesh burst, he fairly exploded, into his perpetual present, and his life became three dimensional for the fist time in his memory.
And flesh, it was an anchor to a family that he thought he would never have. Even when Cassandra had been his soul purpose, he had exerted no control over her and she had sought no closeness in their relationship. He thanked the goddess that at least Lucia hadn’t deemed it necessary for him to live with the open-wound that Cassandra’s constant peregrinations could so easily have left him. No, he had gone about his days in a grey haze of duty that bound him deeply and yet he felt with a distance that eased his empathy at the young succubus’s suffering, yet never lessened his loyalty to her, nor his desire to protect her. For that at least he had been grateful.
He slipped out the door and moved down the hall toward his own suite. Here at Elemental Cottage, he was welcomed for no other reason that the fact that he was here. Periodically he made trips down to Surry to check on Cassandra’s estate there until a decision could be made as to the best use of the property. But it was always with a sense of anticipation and pleasure that he returned to the Lake District and to the warmth and camaraderie of Elemental Cottage.
When he reached his suite, he stood for a long moment in front of the closed door, then he turned and headed back down the long hallway past the rooms replete with sleepers traversing the Dream World, sleepers who had only a short while ago made love in honour of the waxing of the moon. The power of sex settled over the house like the moonlight did as he made his way to the staircase and down to the library. The fire was laid in the hearth, as it always was and, once it was lit, he perused the massive shelves for something, anything, that might ease his restlessness. He was looking through a section of old texts on alchemy when he became aware that he was no longer alone. The sudden warmth on his back made him feel as though he stood too close to the fire. In spite of the warmth his arms goose fleshed and his stomach somersaulted.
‘I can assure you, Ferris, there is nothing upon these shelves that can compare to the paths of knowledge you refuse to traverse.’ In spite of the inviting contralto timbre of the voice, Ferris felt a tremor climb his spine.
‘And I can assure you, Lucia –’ he said without looking behind him ‘– the most hideous volumes on these shelves I would fear less to peruse, than those places of which you speak.’
The demon moved in so close to him that if the fire of her had been a physical flame, his back would have been a cinder. As she crowded him against the book-lined shelves, for a moment, he resisted, ignoring the futility of such an effort. For a moment. Then he relaxed and let her invade his inner space. It was only as she exploded into those inner realms that he realized in all the years of her presence, in all the years of her on the edges of his consciousness, she had never come fully into him before. The weight of her, though not physical, was terrible, and he stumbled backward feeling his way to the sofa, gasping for breath as though all of the oxygen had gone from the world, feeling his flesh burn beyond ash even as everything remained as it was, and yet would never again be the same.
‘You gave me a choice,’ he gasped in a voice that would have been a scream if he could have managed more than a whisper. ‘And I made that choice.’
She pushed in even nearer, as if that were possible, and behind his tightly clenched eyelids he saw both the beauty and the horror of her poised closer than his own breath. ‘I gave you a gift.’ Her voice roared like the winds on the high fells. ‘I gave you a gift and I expected you to open it, to look at it, to use it.’
‘I didn’t want it! I still don’t want it! I was happy as I was.’
‘You can’t lie to me, Ferris. You were not happy. You were nothing more than a tool for my use.’ It felt as though she leaned into him and whispered in his ear. ‘And you didn’t fight me when I made you the offer.’ He felt the weight of female curves against him, on top of him, pushing him down onto the sofa, and to his horror, he was aroused, even as he was terrified.
‘I’m fighting you now,’ he said, realizing that the more he struggled the more aroused he became.
Thanks so much for having me on the British Bookworm Blog to celebrate the launch of Demon Interrupted, the fourth book of the Lakeland Witches series. It’s such a pleasure to be here. Today I’d like to talk about sex in magic and ritual.
Because Demon Interrupted, and all the Lakeland Witches stories, are erotic paranormal novels involving witches, ghost and demons, magic has always been a key ingredient in the story. I knew when I wrote the first book that, in order to battle demon and give flesh to ghosts, that magic would have to be more than a little airy-fairy fluttering of hands and hocus pocus. I wanted the magic to be visceral and dangerous, and the most visceral, most creative force I could imagine was sex. I’ve always thought sex is the most powerful magic we humans possess. With that in mind, the Elemental Coven’s rare form of sex magic was born, and it evolved from merely the ability to give ghosts the opportunity to temporarily enjoy the pleasures of the flesh in Body Temperature and Rising to a powerful creative force that could generate the magic needed to defeat an ancient and dangerous demon in Elemental Fire.
In Demon Interrupted, that sex magic evolves one step further still to become a transformative force and a healing force. Ferris Ryde’s physical relationship with the witch, Elaine in her own time and later with her ghost plays a very large role in helping him get his memories back and in helping him process the tragedy and the horror of what happened to him with Elaine.
It’s clear when we first meet Ferris in book 2 of the Lakeland Witches Series, Riding the Ether, that in spite of his unassuming ways and his ordinary appearance, he’s not shy about sex, nor is he unskilled. With sex being central to all of the magic the Elemental Coven does, his uninhibited, well honed skill for satisfying a lover and his insatiable appetite mean he fits right in, though he doesn’t know why or how he has such skills.
Ferris has lived the past thirty some years with no memory of what happened before, living in the present moment, serving the succubus, Cassandra Larkin, who is his friend and his charge. He has no memory of what came before nor does he want to know, but when, at the fulfillment of his pact with her, the fire demon, Lucia, who is very protective of Cassandra, gives him his past back as a part of their bargain, he refuses to take it. He quickly discovers that there’s a huge price to pay for refusing what’s rightfully his.
Having spent several years in a Wiccan coven myself, I know a little about the rituals and ceremonies that take place in a magic circle. Of course there was no real sex magic of the type I’ve created for the Lakeland Witches, but there was always the intimation of sex in every circle, in every ritual, in every ceremony. The key tools of power present in every circle are the athame, which is a ceremonial knife representing the erect penis, and the chalice, which represents the womb. Even if sex is only represented symbolically, it’s the essential element in earth-based spirituality, which celebrates and honours the fertility of the earth and the turning of the seasons. The observation of human dependency on the bounty and the fertility of the earth and her creatures is as old as humanity itself, and that drive to reproduce, to give life, to create something that has a life of its own is primal.
What I did in Demon Interrupted, and all the Lakeland novels was to bring the sex to the forefront, to make it more than symbolic and use it as the ritual to bring about the intended magic needed for the task at hand. I wanted the sex itself to be more than a group of people shagging beneath the full moon every twenty-eight days. I wanted it to manifest physical results.
Even more essential to all of the books, I wanted sex to create the physical bond that held the Elemental Coven together, and Ferris is considered a part of that coven by the time Demon Interrupted was written. Ultimately the constant use of sex magic has created very strong bonds within the coven making the coven itself a group marriage, of sorts, with the dynamic changing at the addition of each new member and with the bonding of each new couple. But beyond that, the sexual sharing that goes on constantly within the coven is sort of like the making of a tapestry, with each sexual encounter adding to the strength of the coven fabric and the detail of the coven story as a family. That fabric, that sexual weaving is a central key to the whole story and to the sex magic that is generated within.
Demon Interrupted is fast paced, tense and, at times, terrifying. I don’t think I’ve ever written a story that I found more frightening to write, while at the same time being amazingly sensual. I think tying sex and magic together to form truly wicked, and sometimes wonderfully nasty spells gives the whole series a uniquely edgy, darkly arousing atmosphere that I hope will make you want to spend time with Ferris and Elaine and the Elemental Coven.
Thanks so much for having me over to talk about Demon Interrupted and, Lovely Readers, please remember to enter to win the Amazon gift card.
Voted ETO Best Erotic Author of 2014, and a proud member of The Brit Babes, K D Grace believes Freud was right. In the end, it really IS all about sex, well sex and love. And nobody’s happier about that than she is, otherwise, what would she write about?
When she’s not writing, K D is veg gardening. When she’s not gardening, she’s walking. She walks her stories, and she’s serious about it. She and her husband have walked Coast to Coast across England, along with several other long-distance routes. For her, inspiration is directly proportionate to how quickly she wears out a pair of walking boots. She also enjoys martial arts, reading, watching the birds and anything that gets her outdoors.
KD has erotica published with SourceBooks, Xcite Books, Harper Collins Mischief Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace,Sweetmeats Press and others.
K D’s critically acclaimed erotic romance novels include, The Initiation of Ms Holly, Fulfilling the Contract, To Rome with Lust, and The Pet Shop. Her paranormal erotic novel, Body Temperature and Rising, the first book of her Lakeland Witches trilogy, was listed as honorable mention on Violet Blue’s Top 12 Sex Books for 2011. Books two and three, Riding the Ether, and Elemental Fire, are now also available.
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