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I’m finally back from my trip! And I have computer access—hooray!

Wow, so many reviews! I was genuinely (and pleasantly) surprised that so many of you voiced that “Can’t Touch This” was your favorite chapter! I knew I was doing something completely different with Rome, and I was unsure how you would take it. I was unsure how even I felt about the chapter.

After I wrote chapter 5, however, I found it difficult to move on from there. It should not be so complicated, I thought, to pick up from where I had left off. But it was. So, besides being hindered by travel, when I did have time I was hindered by writer’s block as well.

Then yaeloval wrote their review, which echoed many of the insecurities I had while writing chapter 5. Writing the chapter had actually made me uncomfortable, but I figured that was because I was writing a type of content that I had never endeavored to write before. However, yaeloval‘s review gave words to those shaky feelings I had: That it was too OOC for Rome this early-on; that Labriella would not just roll over and accept Rome’s midnight creeping when she was already pissed at him; that the scene was startlingly close to rape and/or porn.

While I believe I am far enough into the story to showcase explicit content, I think this chapter ended up farther into the “rape” category than I intended. The line between non-consensual and rape is always thin in dark fantasy literature. I think in this case, I did not cushion enough; Rome’s desperation cast a plea to Labriella (and to the reader) for sympathy, but she is not in deep enough with Rome of her own volition to blur the line between consensual and non-consensual. Which is why yaeloval‘s suggestion of more conversation between Labriella and Rome makes sense.

So I have chosen to modify the second half of chapter 5. Content the like of which was in the original chapter 5 will indeed come, in time, but yaeloval is right; the conversational factor is long overdue. This is, after all, a romance, not a porno; there is a relationship there.

Actually, I have already modified chapter 5, and started in anew on chapter 6. Rewriting the latter half of chapter 5 took at least four, several-paged tries; the only way to see if my revision ideas worked, was to just keep writing the new version and see if I got stuck. Finally, I have a winner. I will let you know when I post the new chapter 5.

I’m placing the romantic initiative in Labriella’s small, work-worn hands. Let’s see what happens.

The Beginning of the Relationship Chapters

I just posted chapter 5, FINALLY! For lack of a better title, I called it “Can’t Touch This.” I almost called it “Sweet Temptation,” but that sounds suspiciously like it could be used for a future chapter… ;D

I already wrote a bunch about this chapter in my last entry, so I’ll leave it at that.

Keep in mind that I have posted this chapter on a brief respite from traveling. Sadly, I will not have that luxury for the next month and a half, although it is very likely I will be writing during that time. I would have loved to proofread the type-up of this chapter more before I presented it to you, but if I did that, it may not have been posted for some time, and I figured you would much rather have the chapter now. So here it is. :)

Naughty, Naughty

Ohhh I just wrote something really naughty. I wonder if your opinion of Rome will change based on this…? It’s a risk I’ll have to take. This is a scene I’ve had in mind to write for awhile—since long before I finished the first volume the first time. It’s one of those things you’re never quite sure when’s the right time for. But since I didn’t keep the after-wedding scene that Gian walked in on at the end of the original first volume, the change of scene opened up a few doors for me.

Here’s a bit of a preview:
Rome and Labriella have come to a certain long-awaited arrangement, regardless of the dodgy actions and circumstances leading up to it. The one thing that is for certain is that both of them definitely want it, and whether it not it is wise, it seems like the only thing to do. The trouble is, it has been so long since Rome and Labriella were close, that neither of them is sure how to go about it now that so much has changed. They do manage to have a decent conversation, and to enjoy one another’s presence for a bit. But Rome’s reluctance to divulge his thoughts pushes some of Labriella’s long-term frustrations to the surface. In the wake of their argument, Rome begins to realize that if he doesn’t do something to bridge the gap between himself and Labriella, he may lose her closeness forever.

Far from apologizing for acting like himself, yet increasingly desperate for what he sees himself losing, Rome does something sneaky and immoral to link an angry Labriella to him without her knowledge. But will this backfire? If she discovers what he is doing to her, surely she will hate him forever?

Still writing. ^_^


To those of you who haven’t noticed (since I didn’t post it here): Chapter 4 was posted maybe 2 weeks ago, under the title “The Arrangement.”

To those who did notice: I’m sorry I did not get a chance to post the next chapter a week ago. In all honesty, though I started writing chapter 5, I didn’t have enough time to write much. Last week was a crazy transition week, all my free time filled with meetings, laundry, and packing. I am traveling a lot—mostly on foot, at the moment—so writing time is hard to come by, as is the energy required for getting my thoughts down on paper. Maybe in a week and a half, I might have a couple days to write more, but it will be tight. Until then, hang in there!

Thanks for the Reviews!

Wow, thank you for your reviews! It’s been awhile since I got several at one time like that. I have private messaged some of you to respond to your comments, but as I cannot do that with all of you, I will respond to a few of you here.

Hahachic, glad to have you along for the ride. And thanks for the compliment on my writing. :)

To the anonymous commenter a few weeks back, I say I’m glad you like the “thrilling seduction mood,” because there is more of that to come. I’m only on chapter 3 of the second volume, so although story-wise I’m at a sort of culmination of volume 1, as far as I am concerned I’m just getting into the thick of it. So you can expect any seduction to get much more intense. (I look forward to it. <3 )

Ah, Bookworm, you are absolutely right: I left the end of chapter 3 very open-ended. I did that on purpose (though mostly I was just looking for a plausible stopping point to end the chapter, since I was already at about 30 pages handwritten). I did it because Rome’s admission and his question of what to do next are the pinnacle questions, and to answer them will take at least a chapter—especially if I want to cover Labriella’s interpretation of how things went leading up to that question, and why she said “yes” to “rutting” a whacked-out Rome.

And you’ve anticipated the epic question: How much weight does Rome’s promise to Kit pull, and what happens when Labriella finds out about the promise? Remember that although Kit manipulatively drew up the promise (which means she had a hand in sending Rome to the nobles behind Labriella’s back), Rome is the one who agreed to it. How much is Rome holding himself back on principle, and how much is he doing it for the sake of the promise? And if it is for the sake of the promise, is that for Labriella’s sake, or for Kitiora’s sake…or does he have ulterior motives? So many complicated questions. ;)

NEXT CHAPTER starts off, as I mentioned, with Labriella’s take on what happened at the end of last chapter. Remember that when she walked outside looking for Rome, she had no idea what was going through his head—or that the prostitute/tavern wench had followed him. She doesn’t know anything about the tavern wench in general, either—how she and Rome know each other, why she would be talking to him, etc. Labriella also had to come find Rome, and attempt (from what she saw, in the dark) to draw her own conclusions about what was going on, what was happening to Rome, why, and how to fix it. The whole point of Labriella coming to town in the first place was to sort out her emotions…but what she’s gotten is a whole new ball of emotion. If the tavern wench, who is in a dark alley with Rome, tells Labriella that he kissed her, what is Labriella’s response going to be if Rome says he wants to be near her? How many instances of Rome drawing her in and then pushing her away are going to influence her decision? And what does “moving forward” mean to Rome, who has so many limitations set? Add to that that, technically, the tavern wench is a prostitute, and Kitiora has already interfered behind-the-scenes, and this is making to be a very complicated situation.

Oh, I do so love complex things. <3

Chapter 3 Posted

Guess what’s posted?! Chapter 3! It’s called “Not Ideal Man,” in reference to Kitiora’s nickname for Rome (which she came up with last volume). I was going to call it something else, but…well, I’ll leave that title for next chapter. ;)

In this chapter, Labriella reluctantly accepts the fact that the clothes Rome had Kitiora pick up with her are indeed necessary for her survival.

But Labriella has bigger fish to fry (so to speak). Her feelings for Rome are all over the map, and for a temple servant who is used to having her emotions completely under control, that is a disaster. She finally decides she can’t handle it anymore, and seeks out Kitiora for help. Whether or not what Kitiora says actually helps, you can decide for yourself. But on this little excursion, Labriella runs into another person—one she does not expect, and would not have sought out. When Rome walks in on that interaction, to say he becomes unstable would be a bit of an understatement…

The chapter is left on a cliffhanger, so, fair warning. You can let your imagination run wild until next chapter. Feel free to review your thoughts—I would LOVE to know what you’re thinking. ;)

Winter is Around the Corner

Thank you for being patient! Chapter 2 of volume 2 is now finally posted. :) It’s called “Her Survival.”

The chapter starts out in Rome’s perspective as he goes to reconnect with an acquaintance from last chapter: the woman from the tavern whom he met when he was first trying to figure out whether it was safe for him to send Labriella back to the village after she was almost raped. She is a prostitute, and as such she has a perspective on men, pleasure, and relationships that may differ greatly from the rest of the story populace. Since Rome is such an anomaly (a gorgeous, naïve, dominant nobleman who is fighting his instincts on behalf of a servant girl), she has taken an interest in him, but she has made no attempt to seduce him as a customer. In fact, she turned down his escort offer last volume.

Anyway, Rome mentions what happened with the ball, the wedding, and the dream. Go read to find out how the as-yet-unnamed prostitute responds. It gives Rome something to think about.

Meanwhile, the weather is starting to get colder, and already Labriella is having trouble keeping warm. Rome initially laid down an “every man for himself” policy. Will he be willing to interfere to supplement Labriella’s survival? And if Rome interferes, will Labriella be willing to accept his help?

I’m sorry it took me so long to get this chapter out. I got sick, among other things. Plus, I rewrote this chapter several times over. First I rewrote the beginning, then I rewrote the middle, and then I rewrote the end. I actually have several different versions of the chapter as a result. The first time through landed Rome and Labriella in a potentially-compromising position, but I decided I rushed in Freezing Season too quickly. The second time I created a dream sequence, which drew Rome to Labriella’s room to possibly initiate some citrus, but I decided that I needed a better setting-foundation for this volume before I sped up the relationship. So finally I settled for the question of provision and Rome creeping around in the background.

Don’t worry; the citrus and fluff will come. <3