A warm welcome to author Alexis Duran joining us today for their blog tour of new release “Gryffon Hall”.
Welcome Alexis 🙂
Title: Gryffon Hall
Author: Alexis Duran
Release Date: August 30th 2016
Genre: MM Romance, Fantasy
Born the useless fourth son of the Lord of Glimmerveen, Wryler dreams of getting married and escaping the rustic confines of his father’s castle. A wealthy merchant’s son seems to hold the key to Wryler’s safe if somewhat dreary future. However, the arrival of a mysterious stranger on the eve of Wryler’s betrothal sends his plans into disarray and Wryler finds himself traded off in marriage to one of the most notorious rogues in the land.
Is Lord Aeric Rouchet the scoundrel he appears to be, or is he something much worse? Separated from his family and thrust into a strange and dangerous new life at the foreboding Gryffon Hall, Wryler must unravel the secret of his husband’s shadowed life and defeat the curse which threatens not only his growing affection for the barbarian in his bed, but the lives of everyone the Lord of Gryffon Hall is sworn to protect.
Love is the Quest by Alexis Duran
Gryffon Hall is based on a classic love story, Beauty and the Beast. While I’ve always been drawn to fairy tales and all things magical, the romantic element is relatively new to me (as in the last five years).
Someone recently asked me why I shifted from writing pure fantasy and horror to becoming obsessed with romance and I have to say it was a natural progression for a writer who’s continually questing for The Story, the one you can’t put down, the one you’ll remember long after you close the cover or power down your Kindle.
The first romance novels I read were my mom’s gothic bodice-rippers. You know the ones with the heroine in a torn nightgown running away from a haunted mansion/castle on the cover? I have to say these books DID NOT inspire me to write romance. I was the kind of kid who’d read anything I could get my hands on, and I mostly had a love/hate relationship with these books. I hated them because the hero was always an incredible jerk, and the heroine was a simpering victim who tolerated his abuse until he came to his senses and fell madly in love with her, usually after she fell off a horse or something.
So why did I keep reading them? I loved the mystery, the haunted mansion/castle, and sometimes, though not often, the plucky heroine who persevered against her jerk employer and the ghost/murderer/gang of thieves. I didn’t discover the power of the romance factor until much later in life, when I experienced how a great romance can be portrayed. The book that redeemed romance for me once and for all was, believe it or not, Middlemarch, by George Elliott. Through that entire huge, convoluted, massive tome the one question that kept me reading was; will they ever get together? That oh-so-chaste kiss at the end was oh-so-satisfying.
As I writer I often ask myself how certain books seize my imagination and won’t let go. Those are the books that keep me up late turning pages when I know darn well I should have gone to bed ages ago. In looking at my emotional reaction to these stories, I realized that it wasn’t the looming threat of lions, tigers or bears that kept me on the edge of my seat, but the fear that the people who should be together might end up apart, whether due to death or some other obstacle. These didn’t necessarily have to be romantic partnerships, but friends as well. So my answer was; the real power of story is all about the relationships between characters, their chemistry, their need for each other and the abysmal-looking future they face without each other.
So I tried my hand at making romance the central issue the plot revolves around, and a whole new world of exciting storytelling opened before me. I finally found the juice to power my fantasies, ghost stories, and mysteries. Whatever the genre, if love is the central quest, everything else falls into place.
Wryler squinted up at a velvet sky recently cleared of clouds. It would be a good night for peering through his telescope, if only the stars would stop swarming about so.
“Lovely night after so much rain.”
Wryler lowered his chin and stood up straight. The voice came from the shadows toward the stables, followed by the sloshing of boots through puddles. With a few more strides Aeric Rouchet emerged from the gloom, that damnable grin on his face.
“Yes. Quite,” Wryler said, “The dining hall got so hot.”
“It did, didn’t it?” Rouchet kept walking, and Wryler feared the man might plow straight into him. He braced himself for impact, but Rouchet stopped a few inches shy of contact. “The fresh air is bracing, but it hasn’t done much to cool the flush in your cheeks.”
“It’s a curse. The blushing,” Wryler said, and damn if his blood didn’t flame even hotter.
“I find it quite becoming.” Rouchet rested his palm against the wall next to Wryler’s head and leaned in. “Is it only the quest for fresh air that keeps you from your comfy bed, Sir Wryler?”
“Yes. What else would it…would I…?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I noticed the young Mr. Arsburry giving you the eye all night.”
“Him?” Wryler snorted. “There’s nothing going on between us, I assure you.”
“Glad to hear it. I thought perhaps you were looking for company.”
“I weren’t. I wasn’t.” Accursed wine!
“But now?” Rouchet placed a finger under Wryler’s chin and lifted it slightly. His looming presence enveloped Wryler in warmth and the smell of leather. Rouchet blocked out the sky, the stars replaced by his gleaming eyes. Wryler shrank back against the wall. He wasn’t being held in place, but he might as well have been. He couldn’t move and didn’t much want to.
Rouchet swooped in for a kiss, his wine-moistened lips covering and consuming Wryler’s. He was surprisingly gentle, this barbarian, his tongue easing into Wryler’s mouth slowly but firmly.
What’s happening? What’s going on here, exactly? Men other than Lennox had kissed Wryler. Large, rough men. Stable hands. Traveling knights. Many had attempted to steal more than a kiss, and while pleasant, Wryler wasn’t often tempted for more. But now, now he sensed Rouchet hesitating, waiting for a sign from Wryler, for permission to unleash the lust he obviously held back.
This really isn’t acceptable behavior. But Rouchet would soon be gone, and they’d never see each other again. What harm could come of a little kiss?
Wryler responded, pushing back with his tongue, his body arching against Rouchet’s.
Rouchet growled and plunged in harder, driving Wryler against the wall. A cascade of tiny explosions fired beneath Wryler’s skin, and he was instantly and embarrassingly hard. It had never been like this with Lennox. Wryler always required coaxing and coercing. Now he felt as if he could be the one in charge, tearing at Rouchet’s clothing and demanding to taste every inch of the lord’s enormous body.
Wryler kept his hands by his sides and balled into fists, not trusting himself to touch Rouchet with more than lips.
Rouchet had no such restraint and ran one large hand down Wryler’s back all the way to his buttocks, which he squeezed hard. Wryler gasped, and Rouchet seized him with both hands and pulled him in tight, crushing Wryler’s poor swollen cock against his unyielding thigh. The pressure felt too good. Wryler wanted to climb Rouchet, to mount this monster of a man and ride him like….like… Words fled him as he cried out for this unexpected delight.
Rouchet broke out of the kiss but kept his mouth close to Wryler’s ear.
“My dear Wryler, thank you for your answer, but I fear if I keep at it I won’t be able to stop.”
“You’re drunk, and although appearances may suggest otherwise, I am nothing if not a gentleman.”
“I am not!” Wryler insisted, weaving as Rouchet released him.
“Sweetly, deliciously drunk.” Rouchet ran a finger along Wryler’s jaw, then stepped back and bowed. “A good night to you, Sir Wryler, and may you arrive safely at your rooms. I’d escort you, but I’m afraid I’m more the monster in the shadows this night than the knight by your side.” He sighed deeply. “No, I’m afraid I’m more likely to sling you over my shoulder and carry you to my bed than see you safely tucked away in your own.”
“I wouldn’t mind,” Wryler said. “Not much anyway.”
“You’re too kind.” Rouchet bowed again. “Sleep well.” He turned and stalked off into the night, vanishing as suddenly as he’d appeared.
For a moment, Wryler wondered if he’d dreamed the entire thing. His body certainly didn’t think so.
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Alexis Duran was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. At the University of Oregon, her fascination with people and relationships led her to major in Sociology, but her main love has always been creative writing. She’s worked in museums, finance, film production and for several performing arts organizations. Her favorite job so far has been inventorying the collection of a haunted Victorian Mansion. She is the author of the Masters and Mages and Edge of Night m/m fantasy series as well as several stand-alone romances. Her fiction has won several awards including the Rupert Hughes Award from the Maui Writers Conference and First Runner Up from Love Romances Cafe. She lives with one dog and four and a half cats. She is always working on the next novel and has several new ideas brewing at all times.