The Ingredients of Bliss by Lisabet Sarai
Contemporary BDSM Ménage
Totally Bound, 2014
Blog Tour & Giveaway
Blog Tour & Giveaway
Introducing the VillainsBy Lisabet Sarai
Although I've been writing all my life, and publishing for nearly fifteen years, I'm still learning how to write effective villains. It's all too easy to go off the deep end, to make them so loathsome that they're boring. Pure evil is just too predictable.
When my crit partner Chris read my first attempt at a serious villain, Teodoro Raphael Remorros in my Mayan-themed paranormal Serpent's Kiss, he commented diplomatically, “He's a bit of a mustache-twirler, isn't he?” And Chris was absolutely on target. In version one of the book, Remorros was a cartoon. He oozed cruelty from every pore. Despite his magical powers, readers would understand immediately that Remorros didn't stand a chance of vanquishing Jorge, the hero. And that removed a significant source of suspense and excitement.
Chris taught me that villains need to be ambiguous, with some flash of brilliance or beauty to balance their darkness. Even more important, villains need a reason to be bad. Their evil deeds must make internal sense, given their situation, goals or history. The most memorable villains believe their actions are justified.
In the most compelling stories, the villain in some way mirrors or resembles the hero (or heroine). The two characters have some fundamental traits in common. This sets up a tension, keeping the tale a bit off balance, because there's always some possibility that the hero or heroine might slip over the line and be lost to the dark side.
The Ingredients of Bliss features two villains. The first is Jean Le Requin, a notorious French gangster who physically resembles Etienne Duvalier. Indeed, that resemblance is the reason that Etienne and Harry are abducted. The Iron Hammer Triad mistakes Etienne for Jean, who has stolen a drug shipment from them. Emily is forced to ingratiate herself with Jean in order to search for the purloined narcotics. It's a difficult task at least partially because Jean looks and even smells like Emily's lover Etienne.
Jean shares something besides his appearance with Etienne: a monumental ego. However, while Etienne has impeccable manners, Jean is crude and violent. Even after he assaults Emily, though, he still merits a bit of sympathy. We learn that he is a product of his environment, not bad by birth. And he does end up risking his life to help Emily rescue Etienne and Harry.
The other villain is the Chinese mob boss Zhao. Once again, he's not 100% evil. He's pragmatic, a businessman, albeit one accustomed to using bloody means to resolve his problems. And he mirrors Emily in several ways – not only in his Hong Kong background but also in his characteristically Chinese approach to negotiation.
The Ingredients of Bliss is intended to be a light-hearted tale, not entirely realistic. The notion that a female chef could win in a conflict with a group of professional criminals is pretty silly. Still, I wanted my villains to be sufficiently three dimensional to be seen as a palpable threat.
One sexy French chef. One kinky American TV producer. One ambitious Chinese gal who thinks she wants them both. The ingredients of bliss? Or a recipe for disaster?
Accomplished cook Mei Lee “Emily” Wong knows exactly what she wants—her own show on the Tastes of France food channel. But life is full of complications. First, her deceptively nerdy producer, Harry Sanborne, initiates Emily into the delights of submission. Then her boss, legendary chef Etienne Duvalier, begs her to dominate him. Emily just can’t resist—especially when Harry orders her to explore her inner mistress. Suave and sexy Etienne will do whatever she asks—in the bedroom if not in the kitchen. And Harry, her lovingly diabolical Dom, adores pushing Emily’s limits.
When the network sends the trio to France to shoot a series of cooking shows on location, Emily knows her career is on the upswing. Her plans fall apart in Marseille as a Hong Kong drug syndicate kidnaps both Etienne and Harry. The Iron Hammer Triad mistakes Etienne for notorious gangster Jean Le Requin, who has stolen their drug shipment, worth millions. Emily realizes she must find the real Le Requin, retrieve the purloined dope, and bargain it for Harry’s and Etienne’s lives. The secret she’s been keeping from Harry might prove useful. Still, what chance does one woman whose knife skills are limited to chopping vegetables, have against the ruthless cruelty of two criminal organizations?
Get your copy today!
The special VIP edition of The Ingredients of Bliss is now available from Totally Bound. This version contains a sizzling bonus chapter not available from other retailers. Totally Bound has the most advanced book selling site of any independent publisher on the web, with new One-Click ordering and direct delivery to all e-reader platforms.
Blog Tour Prizes
First prize: $30 gift certificate to Sur La Table (http://www.surlatable.com)
Second prize: $20 gift certificate to Whole Foods Market (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com)
Third prize: Three-pack of ebooks from my back list, including a copy of Her Secret Ingredient, the prequel to The Ingredients of Bliss.
I'll also be giving a PDF copy of my own original cookbook, Recipes from an International Kitchen, to everyone who leaves a comment. AND I have a bonus $10 Totally Bound gift certificate for the tour host who gets the most reader comments.
To enter, simply leave a comment that includes your email address. You can enter once for each spot in the tour. For the full tour schedule, go to:
“Eh bien. How about that appetizer?” He nibbled my ear lobe. “I’m starving.”
His mouth locked to mine, demanding my surrender just as he had on the grandstand. I had to encourage him. For the moment, I gave him everything he wanted, wrapping my arms around his neck and sinking against his solid chest. He’d opened the top three buttons, enough to expose the red-brown hair scattered over his pectorals. He hadn’t changed clothes since the races. Now the funky, masculine scent of his sweat overwhelmed the dwindling traces of his cologne—a scent that was dangerously familiar.
I struggled against my autonomic reactions, reminding myself that this man wasn’t Etienne, no matter how similar he looked. Jean was a vicious criminal who wouldn’t hesitate to kill me if he knew who I really was or why I was there.
One of his hands crept up my thigh to the bare skin above my stocking tops. The other fiddled with the zipper that ran up my spine. I felt a finger prodding at the satin of my undergarment.
I slid away from his lips and pushed myself back from his taut body. “Slow down, stud,” I purred, letting my voice drip with lust. “I told you, I don’t like to be rushed.”
He grabbed at my arm, but I twirled away, laughing.
“Damn it, Mei Lee! I’ve been waiting all day!”
“And you can’t wait a bit longer, cher? I do so want to impress you with my cooking. And I suspect that if I let you continue with what you’ve been doing, dinner will never happen. Wouldn’t that be a waste?”
“If you let me continue?” Jean’s face darkened.
I recognized the cold cruelty I’d seen in his mug shots. A chill skittered down my spine.
“I want you, woman. What’s to stop me from simply taking you?”
“That would certainly ruin what’s promising to be a lovely friendship…” I worked to keep my voice light, level, flirtatious. Reaching behind my back, I located the zipper tab. This wasn’t the easiest maneuver but I’d practiced it in my hotel room. I eased the zipper down while I continued to soothe him. “Don’t you know that building erotic tension can lead to far more pleasure, when it’s finally released?”
Fists clenched by his sides, apparently torn between force and reason, Le Requin glared at me. “I don’t give a shit about erotic tension. I just want to fuck you.”
“Oh? You had me believing you a great lover. I guess I was mistaken.” With an exaggerated sigh, I turned my back to him and slipped the dress off my shoulders. The crepe slithered down my body and pooled at my feet, revealing the satin and mesh costume I’d bought from Madame Mirasolle.
I didn’t need to see him to gauge his reaction. His low moan was a dead giveaway. The jet black satin thong disappearing between the pale moons of my ass cheeks looked wicked as sin. I knew—I’d checked in the mirror when I’d put it on.
About the Author
I started both writing and cooking at an early age, and I've continued to indulge both passions as I've matured. Usually I'm an improvisational cook; I'm not all that fond of following recipes, and when I do, I almost always introduce my own variations. My philosophy tends to be the more spice, the better.
You could say the same about my writing. Since the release of my debut novel Raw Silk in 1999, I've published lots of erotica and erotic romance in almost every sub-genre– more than fifty single author titles, plus dozens of short stories in various erotic anthologies, including the Lambda winner Where the Girls Are and the IPPIE Best Erotic Book of 2011, Carnal Machines. My gay scifi erotic romance Quarantine won a Rainbow Awards 2012 Honorable Mention.
I have more degrees than anyone would ever need, from prestigious educational institutions who would no doubt be deeply embarrassed by my chosen genre. Widely traveled but still with a long bucket list of places to go, I currently live in Southeast Asia with my indulgent husband and two exceptional felines, where I pursue an alternative career that is completely unrelated to my creative writing.
The Blog Tour Schedule
8/15/2014 K D Grace http://kdgrace.co.uk
8/17/2014 Ashley Ladd http://www.ashleyladd.blogspo
8/18/2014 Sabrina York http://sabrinayork.com
8/19/2014 Jennifer Wright http://authorjenwright.wordpr
8/20/2014 H K Carlton http://pickagenrealready.blog
8/21/2014 Lucy Felthouse http://eroticaforall.co.uk
8/22/2014 Ashe Barker http://ashebarker.com
8/23/2014 Kay Dee Royal http://kaydeeroyal.blogspot.c
8/25/2014 Ella Laurance http://ellalaurance.
8/26/2014 L M Somerton http://lmsomerton.wordpress.co
8/27/2014 Morticia Knight http://www.morticiaknight.blo
8/28/2014 Tamsin Flowers http://www.tamsinflowers.com
8/29/2014 Suz deMello http://thevelvetlair.
8/30/2014 Kryssie Fortune https://kryssiefortune.wordpr