Posted by Teresa Noelle Roberts

Blood and Lotuses: Dark, Romantic Fantasy

Book cover for BLOOD AND LOTUSES (attractive Asian man and woman with swords)

Mostly I write romance and erotica, but sometimes I delve into one of my favorite genres for reading: fantasy. (My love of fantasy should come as no surprise to fans of the Duals and Donovans or Seasons of Sorania series, which are paranormal and fantasy romances, respectively, with fairly involved supernatural worlds.) Since I’m a huge romantic, my fantasy tends to focus on love and sexuality and sex magic plays sometimes plays a role. (Again, no surprise.) Blood and Lotuses is my first published fantasy in several years. Different genre, different tone…but some familiar themes for folks who read my romances.

When love is outlawed, only the bravest lovers can defeat an inhuman foe.

A demon in the guise of a goddess is “purifying” the great city of Dakura by killing off its stores of love, desire, and beauty. Once the city is void of color and passion, the demon can claim the city for its base to conquer the whole mortal world.

Anchali, a priestess of the goddess of love and desire, infiltrates the temple of the false goddess, along with her reluctant guardian Thanom, a soldier whose wife was murdered in a demon-inspired purge. They’re hoping to get information to pass on to a rebel general who hopes to roust the cult from Dakura. What they find, though, tells them this isn’t a job for warriors.

It’s a job for lovers, using the power of passion to enact an ancient ritual.

Anchali can perform the ritual. But first she has to convince a broken-hearted man to love again.

Compared to that, defeating a demon is child’s play.

Warning: Contains more explicit violence and less explicit sex than usual in a Teresa Noelle Roberts novel, along with all the magic and romance you’ve come to expect if you know my Duals and Donovans or Seasons of Sorania books.

Excerpt:

“You don’t have to do this, Anchali,” Thanom said, not for the first time. “Dakura’s no place for the Chosen of Pichitra now.” It was raining hard, one of the relatively short but soaking downpours to be expected in the western parts of Kalynga province at this time of year, and they’d found shelter inside the hollow of a huge, fallen tree—a decent enough shelter, if rather cramped, forcing them to be a little closer together than was truly good for Thanom’s peace of mind.

It was as good a time as any, he figured, to have this argument again, not that he thought it was any more likely to change her mind than it had been before.

“And if the Chosen of Pichitra do not fight those would destroy all Pichitra stands for, who will?”

“Lord Commander Rak’s army, maybe?” Thanom tried to smile as he said it, but he could tell the smile wasn’t reaching his eyes. “Fighting’s more our line than yours. And why should you risk your life for Lord Rak and Baragarm anyway? I was born in Baragarm, and I served under Lord Rak for years. It made sense for me to go back there after…after there was nothing to keep me in Dakura. But why should you help your own city fall to Lord Rak?”

“Dakura has already fallen. The Negus has betrayed Dakura and all Benire, joining Iana’s cult. Iana’s cult has claimed half the city, and fear has paralyzed the other half.” Anchali gestured with her hands as she spoke. Her breasts bobbed.

The movement distracted Thanom more than it should have. Anyone would think he was a tribal lad come down out of the mountains on the northern border with Pandak, where women bundled up in colorful layered ikat jackets to keep the chill at bay, instead of a city man, a man of the world.

But there was being worldly and sophisticated, and then there were the graceful lines of Anchali’s body, and the nipples still ornamented with henna as a mark of being Chosen by Pichitra. The beauty of her body wasn’t something you’d see every day, even in a great city like Baragarm or Dakura. Fortunately, he managed to look away before he lost the thread of the conversation altogether.

“Lord Rak is a decent man,” Anchali continued, “a man who honors Pichitra and Jananya and the Red God as well. He’s been a good Lord Commander of the armies and he’s done a good job as governor of Baragarm. He can only do a better job with the country than a mad Negus, and if he can free Dakura from this madness, I’d far rather see my city, and the whole of Benire, in his hands.”

Well, at least they agreed on that point. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a good thing for his argument. If she had the slightest doubt about Lord Rak’s integrity, he might have been able to persuade her to give up this spy mission.

He’d been raised not to argue with Chosen, taught they were wiser than he was—whether they were those of Jananya, his principle deity, or another—but in this case, he was willing to make an exception. Taking her into this situation was nothing short of lunacy.

She was young, both in years and in experience, at least in comparison to his ten years as a fighting man. It went against her holy vows to use weapons. And it wasn’t like she had anything in her past that would help her in a pinch. She’d been training to be a courtesan when Pichitra called her, a girl of sixteen who’d dedicated most of her short life to learning gentle elegance, the arts, and the ways of love. She’d gone from the home of the senior courtesan who was her mentor into a temple.

Anchali was lovely, lively, radiant with sensuality. Her walk was like a dance, her voice still a courtesan’s low, sultry music.

“Anchali,” he said, deciding bluntness might be his best weapon, “you’re the last person in Benire who ought to go into Dakura now. They kill people like you on sight. No one could possibly see you and not know you were a Chosen of Pichitra, a courtesan, or both.” Or just too beautiful. If her beauty puts me in awe, how much would she terrify someone who hates the flesh?

 

Buy it on Amazon / Smashwords / Barnes & Noble / Kobo