Bribing the Muse

Pulling open the door to the Wicked Muse Tavern, I wondered what I was going to run into. This would be my first visit to this place and I wasn’t sure what my welcome would be after my insane muse, Livvy had turned this place upside down during my Gabriel’s Light Blog Tour.  Would Shay’s muse, Lucien welcome me or would he come after me with a blunt object?  Shifting the treats I had made specifically with Lucien in mind, I knew I only had myself to blame.

Letting my muse run my book tour hadn’t been my wisest decision. However, an author could only do so much and when my kiddo’s band trip to Florida demanded my undivided attention, I in my brilliant wisdom decided to unleash Livvy on my unsuspecting hosts – which hadn’t turned out the best decision I ever made.  But with my upcoming blog tour for Essential Master, I was going to have to soothe some ruffled feathers or face the fact that my muse may be non-gratis at a few of the blogs – particularly here.  Considering that two of my characters, Liam and Grim, had threatened to kill Lucien the last time Livvy had visited, I was pretty sure that would be the case.

Stepping inside the cool interior, I glanced around.  The club was much as I expected it to be – or at least from Livvy’s descriptions.  Lots of beautiful wood work, a long shiny bar gracing one wall and a decidedly wicked Chesterfield chair, I was dying to try out next to the fire place. Unbelievably there was a fire crackling in its depths as if it wasn’t as hot as hades outside. Moving forward I looked around, wondering where Lucien, Serphina or even The Bruce might be hiding at.   I really needed to talk Lucien before Livvy joined me. I could only hope that the directions I gave her would confuse my forgetful muse and she’d be late as always.

After placing my hand on the bar and the basket on the stool next to my hip, I nibbled on my lip and wondered if the goodies I brought would be enough to smooth out Lucien’s ruffled feathers, and convince him to let Livvy come back into the tavern in a few days to promote one of my newest books.   From the back off the bar I could hear what sounded like cursing and the yipping of a dog. As the cursing got louder I could only assume that it was Shay’s muse and The Bruce, his arch nemesis in the form of a red curly haired dachshund.

Moments later, a huge, devastatingly handsome Scottish man, clad in leather pants and a blindingly white silk shirt stomped out into the bar. My mouth dried and my eyes widened. I suddenly wished for a tankard of ale, even if it would probably be the most disgusting thing I’d ever tasted. Beer drinker I’m not, but at least it would give me something to concentrate on rather than the sexy hunk of muse stalking towards me.  I might be married, but I wasn’t dead.  What the hell was Shay’s muse doing dressed in leather anyway?  He was supposed to be wearing kilts, not leather. I could handle kilts….kinda.

He came to a stop, his face in the shadows but his dark hair and blue eyes were captivating.  Damn it.  Shay hadn’t done justice to how irresistible her muse was.  How the hell had I got stuck with a smart-assed wench who took nothing seriously.  Finally, I stuck my hand out. “Hi. I’m Dakota.”

“Are ye now?”  His stance didn’t change, he just continued to study me.

“Yeah.”  I shifted uncomfortably. “I talked to Shay and she said I could stop by and that you enjoyed goodies.”  I turned and lifted a glass bowl of raspberries, whipping cream, honey and toasted oats up for his inspection.  “I found a recipe for raspberry cranachan online and thought you might enjoy it…being Scottish and all. I even splurged on the whiskey.”

He crossed his arms over his chest. “Ye made it? It’s not bought at one of them from the store?”

“Yeah, I made it. If you want something done right, you should do it yourself. Or so my dad has told me.”

“Perhaps ye should’ve thought of that before letting that muse of yers loose on the unsuspecting public, Mistress Trace.”

Heat filled my face. Setting the bowl down on the bar, I resisted the urge to fidget. “Yeah, well it wasn’t one of my better ideas. I seem to be the only one who can handle her in more than a small dose.” I bit my lower lip.  “If I told you that in the end she got what was coming to her, would all be forgiven?”

He seemed to be thinking about, before he finally sighed. “It depends. Do I have to share the cranachan?”

I shook my head. If giving him the whole bowl of dessert would pave the way to Livvy’s return, he could have it. Seraphina could have a book or something.

He was inching towards the bowl when a woman appeared from the back, a dog trailing behind her. “Okay. All’s forgiven as long as ye promise to never let her in here again…” His hand wrapped around the edge of the bowl.

Seraphina smacked Lucien’s hand. “You will not! What would Shay say if she knew you banned Livvy from the tavern? All muses are welcome here.”  She placed a hand on her hip as Lucien growled. “While I’ll admit your muse, Mistress Trace, is a more than a bit of a handful, Livvy is still welcome…as long as you accompany her.”

I smiled in relief. “Thank you, Seraphina. Not an issue. After the last tour, she’s not allowed in public by herself.”  The bells jingled as someone came in.

“Slave!”   The voice echoed through the tavern.

I groaned as Livvy sauntered into the tavern, her tight leather corset and leggings making my jeans shorts and tank-top look provincial.   “Livvy.”

Lucien stiffened before grabbing the bowl protectively. When Seraphina gave him a look, he shook his head. “Mine,” before slipping back into the shadows.

“I’m sorry.”  I whispered as Livvy pranced over bold as you please and hoisted her butt up on the bar.  “Get down!” I grabbed her arm to yank her down. “We don’t sit on bars.”

She shook her head, her dark curls bouncing. “Perhaps you don’t, slave, but I’ve danced on a few in my time.”

A rubbed a hand over my face.  Incorrigible. That was what my muse was. There was no way around it and I was stuck with her.  At times I wondered what that made me – since by all counts from my non-writer friends, Livvy was just a figment of my imagination.

*however the dessert Lucien absconded with isn’t a product of my vivid imagination, so here’s the recipe for those who have a sweet tooth. Just make sure you hide it from Lucien or he may abscond with yours as well.*

raspberry cranachan Classic Cranachan

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz of whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp whiskey
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 9 oz of raspberries
  • 3 tbsp of oatmeal

Directions:

  • Toast oatmeal in a pan over low heat. Let cool
  • Lightly whip cream, then fold in honey, whiskey, oatmeal and raspberries
  • Chill in fridge until time to serve. Makes 4 servings.

*picture is courtesy of the BBCgoodfoods.com

 

For the Love of a Muse by Kate Belle

For the love of a muse By Kate Belle

Ah, The Wicked Muse Tavern. How I have longed to visit and finally, here I am. I stand waiting for my eyes to adjust to the dim light. My muse follows me in and is clearly less intimidated by the surroundings than I. He spots Lucien in his usual place in the corner and the pair salute in greeting. Of course, how silly of me, both being muses they must know each other.

We’ve arrived a little late, as usual, but Lucien doesn’t seem perturbed. My muse settles comfortably into a seat by Lucien and they wait for me to join them. I’m feeling awkward and way too human in their presence. The two are so powerfully males, it’s a bit overwhelming.

Seraphina sidles up to my muse, her eyes glittering. I hide a smile. My muse is like a mirror. When women look at him they see their perfect lover, when men look at him they see the man they wish to be. I can see Seraphina is attracted to what she sees and I know that devil muse of mine won’t let her escape without toying with her a little. Sure enough he wraps a strong hand around her wrist and pulls her into his lap.

‘What joys do you have to offer me, m’lady?’ he asks with a seductive smile.

Seraphina has wrapped one unconscious arm around his neck and thrusts her ample bosom toward him.

‘Mulled wine and meade, sir. Or whatever else takes your pleasure.’

I can tell my muse is pleased with the effect he’s had on her. ‘Mulled wine, please,’ and he kisses her fingers without breaking her gaze before releasing her to fetch his order. Seraphina leaves without giving me a second look. I don’t blame her. I’d probably do the same in her position. I decide I’m not thirsty anyway.

Lucien is studying me with an interested gaze. ‘So, what do ye want to discuss with us, lass?’

My throat is dry and I must work my jaw a little before I can speak.

‘Um… what is it about authors that readers find so mysterious?’

Lucien’s laugh starts as a low rumble and my muse joins in. The sound is deep and echoes around The Tavern, like rolling rocks.

‘It’s not the authors the readers find mysterious, lass,’ says Lucien.

‘I’ve tried to explain this to her, but –‘ my muse sighs as if his job is a hopeless one.

‘What then?’ I ask, frowning.

‘It’s us,’ my muse says as he gratefully accepts a goblet of dark, mulberry wine from Seraphina.

I notice the gleam of Lucien’s fine teeth and realise he’s smiling at me. At least I’ve amused him.

‘Authors aren’t at all mysterious, lass. Yer all ordinary humans, just like yer readers.’

‘But readers seem to gain so much from our stories. Our words…’

‘Ah –‘, Lucien cuts me off. ‘Not your words.’ He glances at my muse who is sipping his wine and admiring Seraphina as she glides around the Tavern cleaning tables.

‘Is she always this stupid?’ Lucien asks.

My muse turns from his meditation on Seraphina’s bottom to look at Lucien. ‘I’m afraid so, yes. You’ve no idea how hard she makes my job some days.’

‘My sympathies, sir.’ Lucien is serious now and fixes his gaze upon me. ‘Our words, lass. The readers gain from our words.’

Now I’m embarrassed. ‘Sorry.’

My muse is nodding. ‘We use you as a vessel through which we pour our love, our wisdom, our understanding of humanity. We use you to make love to the readers. When a reader is fully engaged with an author’s story, it is because they have found a connection to one of us. We use your body to touch those beyond you through words.’

I’m feeling altogether humbled. All the time I’d thought that my writing had something to do with my talent.

‘But not all writers are good writers,’ I protest.

My muse scoffs. ‘Not all muses are good muses.’

Lucien slaps his thigh and roars at this. The two of them are sharing some private joke and I smile lamely, pretending I understand.

‘So, you’re saying that, as an author, without you I have no stories?’ I ask.

‘Oh ye have stories, lass,’ says Lucien, ‘But the stories will have no –‘ he turns again to my muse. ‘- what’s the word?’

‘Joi de vivre,’ my muse answers. ‘Lust for life. No energy, no seduction, no meaning.’

‘We give your stories breath,’ Lucien continues.

If I really think about this I begin to see what he means. There are times when I’m writing that the story takes hold of me. At those times I write fast and don’t finish until I’m out of breath. Time disappears. My body wants nothing from me. The words pour through me, not from me. I see now, at these times, I am not the author. My muse is.

‘I understand,’ I say to them both. ‘I’m like your pen.’

‘Exactly!’ exclaims my muse with satisfaction. He turns to Lucien. ‘See. I stick with her because she’s not always so stupid. Sometimes she even surprises me with her wit. And she’s lovely to make love to. ’

This last makes me flush crimson. Lucien is chuckling knowingly. They raise their glasses to me in a toast. Lucien’s dark smile is shining through the shadows. My muse has lifted his goblet toward me, his eyes fixed on my reddened face. I wish I’d been more forthright with Seraphina and ordered a drink so I could join them.

‘To the eternal love between muse and author,’ they say together, and I bow my head in gratitude.

Kate Belle BioKateBelle-glamfrontlores

Kate lives, writes and loves in Melbourne, juggling her strange, secret affairs with her male characters with her much loved partner and daughter, and a menagerie of neurotic pets. She holds a tertiary qualification in chemistry, half a diploma in naturopathy and a diploma in psychological astrology. Kate believes in living a passionate life and has ridden a camel through the Australian desert, fraternised with hippies in Nimbin, had a near birth experience and lived on nothing but porridge and a carrot for 3 days.

Blog/website: http://www.ecstasyfiles.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/katebelle.x

Twitter: @ecstasyfiles https://twitter.com/ecstasyfiles

 

Books by Kate Belle

Yearning lo resThe Yearning:

It’s 1978 in a country town and a dreamy fifteen year old girl’s world is turned upside down by the arrival of the substitute English teacher. Solomon Andrews is beautiful, inspiring and she wants him like nothing else she’s wanted in her short life.

Charismatic and unconventional, Solomon notices the attention of one student, his new neighbour, who has taken to watching him from her upstairs window. He assumes it a harmless teenage crush, until the erotic love notes begin to arrive.

Solomon knows he must resist, but her sensual words stir him. One afternoon, as he stands reading her latest offering in his driveway, she turns up unannounced. And what happens next will torment them forever – in ways neither can imagine.

Buy links: (Currently only available in Australia and New Zealand)

Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/The-Yearning-ebook/dp/B00BSVMRC4)

iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/the-yearning/id576561492?mt=11)

Local independent bookshops: (http://www.truelocal.com.au/find/book-shop/)

 

Master of Love series featuring the charismatic lover of women, Ramon Mendez.

Breaking the Rules by Kate Belle - loresBreaking the Rules: Grace is a beautiful woman in complete control of her world. A long time ago she chose a career over children and marriage, and has never regretted it. Then Ramon Mendez, her new PhD student, walks into her office. Aware of the need to maintain her professional reputation, she rejects his advances, but he persists. And during their intimate supervision sessions, her defences start to crumble, for Ramon’s work is exposing desires within Grace she never knew existed.

Follow this link for a sample chapter: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/kate-belle/breaking-the-rules-9781742758343.aspx

Breaking the Rules: iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/breaking-the-rules/id587669259?mt=11) & Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Breaking+the+Rules+by+Kate+Belle)

 

 

 

Bloom by Kate Belle - loresBloom: Thirty-six-year-old Emma’s life looks as perfect, but something is missing. Her husband, Gary, hardly notices her anymore and she feels frumpy and invisible. When she joins a social boot camp class at the local gym, Emma immediately recognises their instructor as the gorgeous runner she sees each evening in the park. In spite of herself Emma is besotted. One evening, when things at home have become too much to bear, she bumps into him and an opportunity presents itself. Ramon promises and delivers everything that’s missing from her marriage – passion, romance and excitement – but Emma must discover if they are the things she really wants.

Follow this link for a sample chapter: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/kate-belle/bloom-9781742758350.aspx

Bloom: iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/bloom/id587669283?mt=11) & Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Bloom-Random-Romance-ebook/dp/B00ANG3YKY/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_1)