Please welcome the lovely Grace Duncan, fellow Dreamspinner Press author, to my blog! Grace’s intricate and sexy as hell stories are set in a wonderful world to lose yourself in. It’s not an easy place to inhabit, but it’s filled with intrigue and excitement (not to mention hot as hell pleasure slaves!).
Grace’s second installment in the Golden Collar Series is Deception, which was just recently released by Dreamspinner Press. She’s here to tell us a bit about her books and the universe in which she’s set them. Check out the end of the post for instructions on how to enter her great blog tour giveaway! Welcome, Grace! -Shira
Hello everyone! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Shira for sharing your blog space with me today! I’m so happy to be here!
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The Golden Collar series, which takes place in the fictitious medieval middle eastern world of Neyem, deals with the concepts of pleasure slavery and the way different people deal with it. In Choices, Teman—a gypsy used to roaming—is captured committing a crime and given the choice of the dungeon or palace pleasure slavery. He chooses the pleasure slavery and ends up falling in love. Eventually, he stays, learning that freedom can mean a lot of things—and nothing at all without the one thing that matters most. While he went through conditioning and training, then learned about serving, he discovered a part of himself that he didn’t know.
Nadir, a slave in Deception, already suspected what he needed, what he wanted, in that way when we first meet him in the “present day.” But, unlike Teman, who had the then amir, later malik, Bathasar to serve—a single, long-term master—Nadir didn’t. And while he accepted his slavery much more quickly than Teman did, it took him quite a bit longer to understand his need to serve and his want, and need, to serve one master.
The emotional aspect of Domination and submission is a tricky topic because there are many differing viewpoints of what it means and what it can do, even among Dominants or submissives. There tend to be a lot of opinions about that and about what makes a submissive, and likewise, every single person may be different because it is not the same for everyone.
That’s a hard truth for some people to understand. When it comes to BDSM everyone is different. Every couple (and I don’t just mean the make up of sexuality and gender) is different, their tastes are different, how they interact with each other is different than every other couple out there. BDSM is extremely individualized and truly dependent on the person (or persons) involved.
I am a submissive, but even though I say that, how that looks and is to me is going to be different for other people. However, when I consider how I write that into my stories, all I truly have to go on is my own understanding of submissiveness. Mind you, I can research. I can ask others. But the best understanding I have of it is my own mind because this is such a personal thing. So, I draw on that for my characters. In this case, that is Nadir.
Nadir has been a pleasure slave for more than six years when you meet him in the “present day” part of Deception. He has been serving, for the most part, many, many masters over the course of that time—most often for a day or two, at best. It has been very temporary and Nadir has been more and more frustrated by this because he has started to truly understand that he has a need inside himself to serve. He craves praise and the knowledge that he is pleasing someone (specifically, his Dom or Master). But the temporary nature of the pleasure slavery in Neyem means that he doesn’t have that opportunity.
For me, submissiveness is about pleasing, about doing for and making happy, that one person (in my case, my Sir). If I know that I am doing that, I get a lot out of our scenes and I can walk away from it very happy. Nadir is very much the same. He would do anything—even things he does not like or take pleasure from—if he knows that he is truly pleasing his master. Unfortunately for him, up until Deception, knowing that he is pleasing the master he’s with is a rare occurrence. But when Deception opens, he becomes the long term (if temporary) personal slave of the malik, Bathasar, and, for the first time in his life, Nadir experiences what it is to serve a single master.
And he’s never been happier.
It helps that the master in question has learned well how to channel someone’s need to serve. His own lover, Teman, has been with him for over a year, at this point and when he took Teman as his own slave back in Choices, he made a point of learning how best to care for Teman’s need. And, though Teman and Nadir are certainly not the same, they are quite similar in this way and Nadir finds himself thoroughly cared for and mastered in the way he’d craved for so long.
Often times, D/s relationships also involve S&M (pain), though not always. For Bathasar who, at the beginning of Deception, does not give pain (though both Nadir and Teman like it), this means he uses other methods of helping Nadir serve. One of his favorites is orgasm denial and the teasing and edging that often goes along with this.
Nadir’s first real experience with denial happens not long after he and his lover Cyrus start serving Bathasar. And as they work through these games, Nadir struggles with the emotional side of them. Because, to him, though it is frustrating, it’s something he enjoys and he doesn’t quite understand how his master doing for him can make his master happy.
Bathasar smiled. “Good.” Then he turned to Nadir and lifted the man’s chin. “Look at me, Nadir,” he whispered, and Cyrus noted the struggle between the need to please and position, but Nadir finally gave in and looked up. “Nadir, I want you to understand something. If you ever decide that you are not happy or comfortable with these types of games, you must say so to me.” He smiled again when Nadir’s eyes widened.
Bathasar put a finger over Nadir’s lips. “Yes, you are technically a pleasure slave, but I am happiest—most pleased, if you will—when you are also happy. I believe you’ve figured this out already, haven’t you?”
Nadir hesitated, then nodded. “Yes… Bathasar.”
“Good. So I want you to also understand that if these things that we do no longer make you happy, I would rather know so that I can find other ways to play. You must tell me if you wish to stop, even temporarily.”
Nadir blinked and frowned. “O… okay.”
Bathasar frowned, obviously at a loss as to how to explain this. He looked up at Cyrus for help.
Cyrus moved around behind Nadir and knelt. “Nadir…. Do you remember when we fell in love?”
Nadir’s eyebrows came together, puzzled. “Of course, Cyrus.”
“Do you remember what I told you about what it was that first made me realize I felt more than friendship for you?” Cyrus asked.
Nadir frowned, thinking it through. “The pain training. It was during my pain training.”
Cyrus nodded. “Yes. Do you know why seeing that bothered me?”
Nadir thought for a moment but shook his head. “No. I don’t know if you ever told me, and if you did, I’ve forgotten.”
Cyrus smiled. “It’s okay. It was because of your reactions to the pain. You get this… look on your face, an expression I can’t hope to describe, and when I saw that, I knew that I wanted to be the one to put that on your face. It’s like when we are allowed to be together, I like to face you often when we make love. Because I like to see your face. Do you understand?”
Nadir nodded. “Yes, but… what has that to do with this?”
Bathasar cast a grateful look at Cyrus and picked it up. “If you are not enjoying the things we do with you, if you are truly miserable and unhappy, you won’t give us the reactions that we want to see—and, thus, make us happy.”
Nadir’s eyes widened. “Oh.”
Bathasar smiled. “Oh, indeed.” He dropped a light kiss on Nadir’s forehead. “So, you see, it is important for you to tell us if you are no longer happy in the games that we play together so that we can find something that all of us will enjoy.”
“I understand. I am, truly, happy with these, You… err, Bathasar,” he said, smiling.
Nadir’s service, for so long, involved simply doing for someone else and not getting anything in return. There were instances where the person he served gave him the command, allowing him to finish, but they very rarely cared about giving him what he needed as much as simply taking what they wanted. So the idea that he could serve while being on the receiving end of something he needed was a completely foreign concept to him.
When Nadir’s denial is ended, he struggles once more with the idea that serving can be good and feel good while he gives to and does for his master. At the very end of the session, he is finally given the command and allowed to finish. When he does, he goes into subspace—a mind space that’s sort of like floating just off the earth—a bit of no where. I can hear what’s around me, but I just… don’t really care. I feel good and I’m quite happy. That’s the best way I can explain it and, like everything else, subspace can be very different for everyone. After he comes back out of it, the other three talk to him about it.
“Welcome back,” Bathasar greeted him, grinning.
“Uhm, thank you,” Nadir said, smile spreading. “And, uh, thank you… for, well, for all of that. It was amazing.”
“You were amazing,” Bathasar corrected.
When Nadir opened his mouth to argue, Cyrus chimed in. “He is correct, love.” He nuzzled Nadir’s face, and Nadir looked up at them.
“This was something that I had to learn too,” Teman said, settling a little more against Nadir. Nadir put his arm around Teman, and when Teman looked up, they shared a quick kiss. “It is still service, even though we get such a wonderful thing out of it. It pleases them a lot to see us like that, our frustrations and our pleasure.”
Nadir frowned as he thought it through, then nodded slowly. “I can see that.”
Teman nodded. “I do understand, though. It’s so wonderful, isn’t it? The feeling afterward?”
“Oh yes, it is. It almost doesn’t seem like… service.”
Teman smiled. “Service can feel good too, Nadir,” Teman said gently, kissing him.
Nadir didn’t know what to say to that, and he sat there, a little stunned. He knew that; he’d seen it with
Bathasar and Teman. He’d experienced service over the years that wasn’t bad, but it had rarely, very rarely, ever felt good. He could, in fact, count those instances on two hands, and most of them involved Bathasar.
Bathasar and Cyrus both smiled, leaned in, and took turns kissing him. “So, then, did you like it? Now that you’ve experienced the end result of this kind of denial?” Bathasar asked.
Nadir smiled shyly and nodded. “I did.”
“You might not want to tell him that,” Teman said, chuckling. “You never know when you’ll get another orgasm.”
I do hope you’ve enjoyed the peek into my kinky brain and world. The Golden Collar series explores kink in it’s many forms, both the good side and the not so good side. I hope you’ll let me know your thoughts on Nadir and the rest. And each comment will qualify you to enter for a copy of a paperback of Deception.
Follow the giveaway here: http://tinyurl.com/puw3nro
For more from Grace, check out her website here: http://www.grace-duncan.com
or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GraceRDuncan2
To check out the entire Golden Collar series, head over to the Dreamspinner Press page here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=976
Be sure to check the Facebook page and visit my other blog stops in celebration of Deception’s release for more chances to win!
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Cyrus and Nadir first met as hungry orphans on Behekam’s streets at twelve years old. They became friends, then partners in the thievery that enabled them to survive, and as they passed their days together, they fell in love. When they are both taken as pleasure slaves in the opulent palace of the Malik of Neyem, love becomes more complicated.
Rumors of an attempt on Malik Bathasar’s life put Cyrus and Nadir’s relationship to the test—they must pose convincingly as intimate slaves to the young malik as part of a plan to lure the assassin into the open. Teman—Malik Bathasar’s real personal pleasure slave and true lover—was once trained by Cyrus for the same duties, and the attraction and care Cyrus developed for him then still remains. The Malik of Neyem proves an easy man to love and Nadir’s feelings for him grow while they’re pretending to love each other.
Cyrus and Nadir care deeply for each other but they’ve forgotten the first rule of love: communicate in honesty. Their love remains strong enough to weather the changes—if they have the courage not only to face the coming dangers, but to put aside deception and find their truth.