Friday, 20 April 2012

Guest post: K D Grace

What have KD Grace and I in common? Well, apart from the writing of erotica, we're both keen gardeners. Today she's here on my blog to talk about - and give us an excerpt from - her new novella Surrogates (out from Mischief Books), but there's a whole big gardening theme going on in there...

K D says:

"A lot of the ideas for my new novella, Surrogates, came from my own digging the veg beds and weeding, and waiting for the harvest, but Surrogates, at least in part, was inspired by much older, much larger gardens, larger even than our shiny new allotment.

"Several years ago my husband and I went on holiday to Cornwall with some friends and spent a day wandering through the Lost Gardens of Heligan. I was intrigued and moved by the story of a garden that had once been the epitome of beauty, as well the source of food for the grand estate of the Tremayne family. Then the gardeners went off to war in 1914 and never returned. Within a few years the gardens fell into disrepair, were over-run by brambles and ivy and forgotten. The gardens are now restored and are a major tourist attraction in Cornwall, and the story of the restoration is a huge part of the attraction.

"Medieval gardens were walled. The walls were an attempt to restore a little corner of the Garden of Eden, to restore spiritual order in a fallen world. Strangely the medieval kitchen garden that I often think about is not restored. It’s barely more than a tumbling wall on the top of Tintagel Castle Mount. There are speculations as to what the garden might have looked like, what might have been grown there, and how the castle, set up on the rocky cliff and cut off from the mainland by the pounding sea, would have been totally dependent upon such walled gardens if there had been a siege. Tintagel is the mythical birth place of King Arthur. There’s not much of the actual castle left, and more and more of it is falling into the sea all the time. But it’s the most wonderful place for the imagination. I’ve imagined all kinds of stories there, stories of knights and ladies, stories of princes and witches, and of course, stories of secret romantic trysts carried out in the privacy of a walled garden.

"But the garden that inspired Surrogates most heavily is the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, just outside Rome. I visited there with my sister one unusually scorching October. We went to Hadrian’s Villa first, and I would have loved to have lingered, but there was little shade and it was just too hot. We ended up wandering the cool green gardens of the Villa d’Este, getting lost in its walkways, exploring its fountains, and grottos and enjoying the hillside breeze. The Villa d’Este is a Renaissance Garden, and a spectacular one. Renaissance Gardens are traditionally full of scenes from mythology. There are always fountains and other water elements because water symbolised fertility and the abundance of nature. And often, within the design of the garden, there is a cryptic bit of information about the estate owner – a riddle, a mystery set out for the visitors in the garden to resolve. That bit of information is deliciously sinister in Mark Mill’s fascinating novel, The Savage Garden,

"Surrogates is a story of ménage with green fingers. The lovely, quirky, Francie Carter has been hired by Daniel Alexander III and his wife, Isabel to restore their medieval kitchen garden, and grow veg for them. Daniel has also hired his mate from Uni, who is now landscaper to the rich and powerful, to build a Renaissance Garden patterned after Villa d’Este, a place of which both men have fond memories. When the three get together sparks fly and nothing will ever be the same again."

DANIEL ALEXANDER III takes his marriage vows seriously. Until he gets the balls to ask his wife, BEL, for a divorce, watching each other masturbate is all he can offer his beautiful gardener, FRANCIE CARTER. But when Dan’s friend, SIMON PARIS, agrees to be his surrogate, affairs of the heart get complicated.

Dan wasn’t listening. ‘Francie, darling, I know how hard it is for you, with us not able to really be with each other. I promise that’ll end soon, and we can be together properly. But in the meantime, it’s not right me having Bel and you having no one. So I’ve come up with a solution for us. Simon will be my surrogate.’

‘What?’ Francie had pushed herself back against the sink as far as she could. Her heart raced in her throat and her face felt like it would burst into flame. ‘You want me to … You want us to …’ She nodded to Simon, then she glared up at him. ‘Is this why you’re here?’

But before Simon could do more than make a couple of fish gasps, Dan ploughed on. ‘Oh don’t you see, darling, it’s so perfect. If I can’t be with you, if I can’t give you what I know you so desperately need, then who better to help us both out that my dearest, most trusted friend, Simon.’

‘He’s a landscaper. He’s hired help just like I am.’ She sounded a lot more hysterical than she meant to. What she wanted to sound was outraged. What she wanted to sound was incensed.

‘No, sweetheart, no. Simon and I are old friends. We went to uni together. We spent a wild summer in Italy together. Darling, I’d trust Simon with my life.’ He shot Simon a meaningful glance, then his gaze came to rest on her. ‘I’d trust him with the person in my life I value most, the one I most want to make happy.’ He caught his breath, and his face softened. ‘Please, darling. This is a gift, something I can do for you. You can pretend he’s me. I can make love to you through Simon, and you, anything you’ve wanted to do to me you can do to him.’

‘Anything?’ She spoke around her racing heart, which felt like it would jump right out of her mouth.

‘Yes, anything, darling. Anything.’   

‘Good.’ Before she had time to consider what she was doing, she slapped Simon, hard, hard enough that he recoiled. Both men gasped, and her hand stung like fire. But she ignored the pain, squared her shoulders and looked Simon right in his now watering grey eyes. ‘Then you can give him that for me.’

To her total surprise, Simon did exactly as she said. He walked over to Dan and slapped him, slapped him hard enough to knock Dan up against the staging table, slapped him hard enough to draw blood where a tooth cut his lip.

The electric silence that followed was interrupted only by the heavy breathing of all three. The two men glared at each other for a moment, sizing one another up. Trembling all over, Francie grabbed the edge of the sink for support, just as Simon turned his back on Dan and came to stand in front of her. He stood so close his breath ruffled the hair that had come loose from the clasp she wore it up in, so close that the rise and fall of his chest beneath his T-shirt was impossible to ignore, so close the heat rising from his body felt magnetic.

‘Does that about sum it up?’ He asked.

For a second, she thought she might cry. But instead, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. She kissed him as hard as she had slapped him, like she wanted to eat him up, like she wanted to crawl up inside his warmth. And he kissed her back. Jesus, how he kissed her back! He kissed and nipped the hollow of her throat around to the sensitive place below her ear, then he whispered in between efforts to breathe. ‘If you want me to stop, tell me now before it’s too late.’

‘Don’t you dare, don’t you dare, don’t you dare,’ she gasped over and over again, guiding his hand to the knot tied below her right breast that held her wrap-around dress closed.

He yanked it hard, then he shoved and pushed until the dress slid from her shoulders and pooled on the floor around her gardening clogs. Somewhere in the periphery of her mind she heard Dan’s fly unzip, a sound she’d grown used to over the past few months, a sound that constantly taunted her with everything she could see yet never touch.

But there were other things to focus on today. Simon kissed his way down her sternum and cupped her breasts, cupped them and kneaded them until her nipples strained against the callouses of his stroking fingers. Then his mouth took over. What her breasts lacked in size, they made up for in sensitivity, and her whole body thrummed as he suckled and bit, nibbled and licked.

K D Grace links:
Facebook Author Page:

Buy Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US


K D Grace said...

Thanks for having me on your fab site, Janine! Love the picture from Heligan!

I'm very pleased to be in Mischief with you!


Janine Ashbless said...

You got back from your hermitage okay then, KD? That allotment must be calling for you!

And it's a delight to have you on my blog. I have extremely fond memories of Tintagel too, but I haven't actually been to Heligan myself, you know ... I've been to the Eden Centre nearby, which I just love (and wrote a chapter about in "Wildwood") but damn, I must get to Heligan someday.

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