RomCon Interview (Blast From the Past)

From my RomCon feature of Traveler Through Darkness.

By this point it’s no huge secret that I like to write stories featuring Middle Eastern characters fusing into mainstream western romance tropes, particularly when it comes to breaking taboos. In my novella Gigolo Seduction, and the latest in Decadent Publishing’s The Edge series, Traveler Through Darkness, that fusion is front and center in multicultural erotic collisions.

Central in my writing is the emotional and psychological experience of characters, particularly those stifling forbidden cravings. We all desire to be turned out, to have our monsters awakened with the right whispers, touches, enticements. But lust is lust, right? Maybe deep down it’s all the same unrelenting drive for release. Or maybe those for whom public touching is demonized find wanton sex unimaginable, unspeakable liberation.

For me, blending a socially restrictive Middle Eastern viewpoint with that of open modern western sexuality makes for a particularly intense joining, making lust not inevitable, but enlightening. The question then becomes—can sating lust be cathartic?

It is for my characters in Traveler Through Darkness. Tarik is an Arab Muslim, though he’s been in the western world long enough to have established a bountiful life in the United States. Wo, a young Navajo man, is proudly out but on the fringe, himself. What possible catharsis could be evoked by their chance meeting, the night of Tarik’s bachelor party?

On Traveler Through Darkness

A lifetime of want collides with fate the night of Tarik’s bachelor party, fulfilling his deepest secret desire—only it’s not with the strippers his Arab friends hired to cater to his every whim. Uncomfortable with the debauched festivities, Tarik ducks out of the soirée, stumbling into Wo, a kind Navajo artist, who forces him to say what he really wants, then gives it to him, all night.

From Traveler Through Darkness

“I am so sorry–” Tarik began.

“It’s okay. It was an accident.” The words were rushed as he pulled the soaked sweatshirt from his skin and fanned the dripping tablet. Black smudges coated the fingertips and heel of his left hand.

“I’ve ruined your work,” Tarik lamented, motioning toward the pad.

“Oh, no. It’s just a sketch. I was fascinated with the moonlight on the harbor.” He flashed a charcoal rendering of the midnight water. A long, shimmering black strand fell forward of the band securing his hair, lighting just at the edge of his upturned mouth. “No masterpiece here.”

Piercing umber eyes met Tarik’s, and the gentle smile relaxed his shoulders. “You were in the ballroom earlier.”

“Mmm. The bachelor party.”

Tarik pursed his lips, nodding once. “I’m staying in the hotel. Allow me to get for you a clean shirt.”

“It’s fine. I don’t have far to go.”

“In this cold, with no jacket, you will freeze. Please. I insist—”

“What’s your name?” the younger man asked.

“I am Tarik.” He bowed.

“I’m Wo.” He nodded. “Thank you for your kind offer, Tarik.”


Originally published on RomCon.

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