Serving-boy meets brooding warlord in The Price! Interview and giveaway with Dominique Frost.
It definitely made writing the next story easier, because I got a bit of a confidence boost! I felt that there were people out there interested in reading my writing, and that spurred me on.
I tend to just write off the cuff, letting the story develop organically. Most plots tend to drop into my head like babies from storks – completely formed and without any planning! So I just let the story write itself, basically. The characters tend to take over and make demands of their own, so there isn’t much steering for me to do. I let them speak for themselves. It’s only in the editing phase that I adjust things for better flow/readability.
Oh, that’s a great (and very creative) question! I’d prefer to have Anthony from the steampunk/pseudo-historical romance, The Bitter Rednesses of Love, with me. Why? Because he’s a genius scientist with a knack for vehicles and machines! He’d definitely be able to get us home safe. As for the most useless character, it’d probably be Cale from The Price, because he lives in a time of horse-drawn carriages and has never even seen a car, let alone a truck! That, and he’s terribly clumsy, so even if he did know what a truck was, I wouldn’t trust him around fine machinery.
Q. Any exciting WIPs to tell us about?
I’m working on a science fiction May-December romance, in which a young cadet falls in love with the captain of his starship. There’s a bit of social commentary on slavery mixed in, as well as an exploration of war and genocide from a survivor’s perspective. So it’s a little more serious than the stories I’ve written so far, but it’s still got that focus on desire and romance and the struggle to establish intimacy with another person.
We can’t wait Thanks so much Domnique! Remember to leave a comment at the end for a chance to win Dominique’s exciting new release
The Price Blurb:
Cale is a serving-boy at a high-class brothel in the city of Havisham. He isn’t one of the courtesans, largely because he’s too clumsy to manage seducing anyone, but he does his best as a servant, keeping the wine-glasses filled and the guests happy.Everything changes when the warlord Darren Kaine visits the establishment. Darren is the new ruler of Havisham and is a brusque, commanding man. Fresh from a war that’s lasted over six months, Darren is in no mood for frippery, and chooses Cale to accompany him for the night, rather than any of the courtesans on display.
Indeed, Darren so prefers Cale’s straightforwardness and simplicity that he decides to make Cale his concubine, and to have Cale visit him at the palace, every night. Stunned by this new turn of events, Cale is further confused by his body’s reactions to Darren. Darren is darkly handsome, sexually demanding and absolutely committed to giving his partner pleasure – a fact that has Cale looking forward to his time with Darren, perhaps more than he ought to.
Darren, too, is in danger of forgetting that Cale is just a tool he uses to slake his lust. For a new ruler, every action comes with a price. Will this one be too steep to pay?
Scroll on for a sizzling excerpt!
From what Cale can see of him from behind a Doric pillar, Darren’s a broad-shouldered hulk of a man, a ribbed scar down one side of his otherwise handsome face, dressed in a scuffed black leather cuirass and equally worn riding boots. He’s reclining on a rich pile of rugs with a drink in his hand like any other lord, but there isn’t anything else refined about him. He’s all rough edges and battle readiness. The fact that he has a coat made out of a wolf’s pelt completes the wild-and-barely-in-control image, and his body is coiled and preternaturally tense as if on guard against any potential attack.
That doesn’t seem like the sort of mood to visit a brothel in. Someone might end up dead with a client in a mood like that.
Cale hovers anxiously about the edges of the greeting room, perfumed and hung with flowers as it is, because he’s supposed to be invisible. He’s the serving-boy that makes sure the wine is ready for the courtesans to serve to their patrons and that the food is where it should be in order to be teasingly nibbled on. He’s also part of the unspoken security system of the brothel. If he notices anything going on that might damage one of the prostitutes, he’s supposed to hightail it to Troq, their giant guard-slash-bouncer, and call him in from where he’s guarding the entrance.
Cale really, really hopes he doesn’t have to call Troq in. Not tonight. Not when they’d have to eject the freaking ruler of Havisham.
Darren can get away with doing anything he wants to any of the courtesans. Anything. The way he’s lounging around like he owns the place, he must know they can’t throw him out.
This is why Cale doesn’t like the important ones. The less powerful clients you can kick out if they start showing a propensity for leaving bruises. Guys as important as Darren Kaine though? People just have to take their crap. And Cale does not like watching his friends get beat up, raped, or in any way brutalized.
Darren with his ferocious eyebrows and frightening scar and stubbled face doesn’t exactly look like a gentleman.
And gods help him, if Darren does anything to hurt Micah or Arissa or Roy or any one of the other courtesans, Cale is going to poison his drink. Politics and power be damned. Cale knows his way around an herb or two. Dalton, the physician that comes by the Pavilion to treat the courtesans, taught him. Cale is fucking well going to use that knowledge if Darren so much as takes a step out of–
“Whoa!” Cale exclaims as he trips over a trailing vine, and the next thing he knows, he’s fallen out from behind the Doric pillar and landed facedown in Darren’s lap.
“I’m sorry!” Cale holds up his hands quickly, scrambling off the man (who smells, Cale’s brain helpfully supplies, like blood and ash). Across the room, Micah pauses in pouring wine into the chalice of a star-struck soldier that has to be the young Kevin Smythe while Arissa glares daggers at Cale from next to her own client, the far more stoic Miles.
Crap. Cale’s ruined the greeting rite. It’s supposed to go smoothly, and then the men take their chosen courtesans upstairs, and–
“You,” says Darren Kaine, his voice as dark as brimstone. “You’ll do.”
“Do…what, sir?” Cale babbles, panicked. “Oh, would you like some more wine? Allow me to–”
“No,” Darren says. “I choose you. For the greeting-rite. And what comes afterward.”
Cale stares, frozen halfway to his feet. The room falls silent, and Cale is acutely aware of all the other courtesans gaping at him. “Wh-what?” Cale says.
“This is a brothel, is it not? And you work in it.”
“Not as a… I mean, sir, I’m just– I…” Cale gestures at his plain tunic, nothing like the golden mesh that Roy is sporting, or the fine transparent silk that Micah is wearing like a second skin. “I just clean things. And clear things. And serve things. I’m just a serving-boy.”
“Then serve me.”
Cale swallows. Nervously.
Shit. This is worse than anything he could’ve imagined. Darren has no sense of style, after all. Why else would he pick a bloody serving-boy when there’s someone like Roy still unchosen at the other end of the room, languishing like some kind of sex god on a cream-colored divan? Do none of the proper courtesans arouse Darren? Why not?
And why does Cale of all people please him? Cale is just…Cale. Uncoordinated, lanky, unpolished. Inexperienced. Seriously, he has only ever gotten laid, like, twice in his entire life. Once with a girl who sucked him off and then with a cute delivery guy who fucked him in the stable. It’s not like Cale is an expert on the “arts of love” or whatever like the other courtesans are. He doesn’t know how to fake a smile, let alone how to fake sexual interest.
Cale is absolutely going to screw this up. And when he does, it’ll ruin the Pavilion at the very least, if not cause it to be burned to the literal ground by Darren in a vengeful rage.
Shit, shit, shit.
But it’s also one of the Pavilion’s rules never to deny a client their choice for a night, and Cale is…
Cale is Darren’s choice for the night.
Darren just watches him, that coiled tension in his body taking on another meaning altogether, and Cale is certain he’s going to pass out. In fact, he feels dizzy.
“We’re so happy you found someone to your liking, sir,” says Arissa in the background. Damn her. “Perhaps”–she twitches an eyebrow at Cale, hinting strongly that he had better cooperate–“Cale would like to take you up to a private chamber?”
Cale would like to run away to the circus, Cale doesn’t say, because it would be pointless.
Instead he gulps, extends his hand to Darren goddamn Kaine, and leads him up the stairs.
* * *
The kid’s grip is callused and rough from menial work. It’s the sort of grip Darren prefers, if he can be said to prefer things he rarely gets to experience or enjoy. The battlefield isn’t a place for carnal pleasures, and he’s never stooped so low as to lay his hands on the soldiers under his command.
He’s never been to a whorehouse before either, let alone to one as luxurious as this…Pavilion, but he knows instinctively that none of the cosseted courtesans with their pampered bodies and simpering faces will do it for him. What he wants isn’t delicacy but a nice, hard fuck. Nothing fancy, no frills, just the basics. This servant boy–Cale–seems like the very thing Darren needs, raw-boned and a bit on the awkward side, but with the sort of straightforwardness that won’t let him dillydally with conversation or overcomplicate things in bed. Darren is worn-out after months of continuous warfare; he wants something simple. The boy’s lips around Darren’s cock, followed by his ass.
The irony is that Darren wouldn’t even be here if he didn’t know the symbolic importance of visiting the Peony Pavilion as the victor of a political coup. He knows it’s crucial to be seen claiming his spoils. It was worrying at first when the courtesans paraded in front of him failed to catch his interest. Thankfully, he at last found spoils worth claiming.
Cale leads him into a low-lit, well-appointed room and slides the door closed behind them. He seems nervous but not terrified, and that’s a relief because Darren has no patience for comforting anyone.
“Um,” says Cale, “may I pour you a drink, or–”
“Strip,” says Darren, and starts stripping his own clothes off.
Cale’s eyes go wide. “Okay,” he says faintly and shrugs off his tunic. He fumbles while doing so, and that shouldn’t be charming, but it seems Darren likes unprofessionalism in his whores. There’s no way the kid’s never done this with a client, no matter what he says. His mouth’s too pretty to have spared him that kind of attention.
Darren’s cuirass falls to the side as does his shirt. He shucks his breeches after climbing out of them and then stands bare in the center of the room.
Cale’s gaze keeps flickering over him and away like he can’t bear to look at Darren directly. Cale is naked now too–all long, lean limbs and a pleasing musculature, slight but supple. He isn’t hard, but Darren can change that.
“Come here,” Darren says, and Cale takes a halting step forward. Darren feels a prickle of heat at the thought of having this boy, his hesitancy and his newness, even if that newness is false.
Darren doesn’t care about that. What he wants is to touch, so he does, running his gaze over Cale’s body before putting his hands on it, sloping his palms over Cale’s shoulders and down to his chest.
“I th-thought you’d like to, I don’t know, talk before doing something,” Cale says. “Like…like most people do here.”
“I’m not most people.”
“Clearly,” Cale mutters, and Darren ignores the implied insult in favor of flicking a thumb over Cale’s nipple. Cale’s breath catches. “Fine,” Cale says, “fine.”
After Darren’s played with them for a while, Cale’s nipples are small and tight, stiff little peaks that invite his tongue, so he gives it to them, bending forward to lick over them until Cale gasps. Cale is beginning to harden, his erection at half-mast and swiftly growing harder, and Darren feels a flare of pleasure, hot and sharp. He grabs Cale’s hips and jerks him forward, lapping at Cale’s right nipple until it’s swollen and slick.
“Fuck,” says Cale, then, “I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t mean to–”
“Swear all you want,” Darren says, “and don’t call me sir.”
“Master?” Cale asks, tentatively.
“Oh, all right, Darren, hey, wait!”
Darren backs Cale up against the wide bed and shoves him onto it. Cale falls in a tumble of limbs, nearly kicking Darren in the stomach when Darren climbs in after him.
“S-sorry,” Cale says. “Do you want–”
“I want you to spread your legs. Can you do that?”
“Not one for conversation, are you?”
Darren grabs Cale’s left ankle and bends his leg back until Cale’s hard cock is in his face. After a split-second decision, Darren goes down on it.
“Fuck!” Cale jumps, his hips slamming up into Darren’s mouth for a moment before he seems to remember himself. “Fuck, that’s– You don’t…have to… You’re the–”
Darren pulls off slurping and wraps a fist around the base of Cale’s cock. “I’m the client, so I can do what I want.” Initially Darren had wanted Cale to blow him, but after nearly a year of celibacy, that dick had been too tempting. The taste was amazing as is the scent, thick and musky.
“And you wanna suck me?” Cale looks and sounds hazy, disbelieving, his pupils black and his jaw slack with lust.
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