By Lisabet Sarai
You might not be aware of the fact, but this month marks the 100th anniversary of Indian cinema, affectionately known as “Bollywood”. India’s first feature film ‘Raja Harishchandra’ was released on May 3rd, 1913. Mumbai – or Bombay – rapidly became the capital of the Hindi movie industry, which by the 1930s was producing over 200 films per year.
Bollywood movies are renowned for their lush settings, lavish costumes, exuberant musical numbers, and above all, for romance. Virile men with complexions like dark honey – bejeweled women sporting bare midriffs and plaits down to their waists, diaphanous embroidered silk blowing around their ripe bodies – kisses in the rain or under a shower of drifting blossoms – insuperable obstacles conquered, evil doers punished, disapproving parents overcome… The classic Bollywood world should feel quite comfortable to the typical reader of romance!
I’ve only seen a couple of Bollywood films, since my husband detests musicals of any sort (and I do prefer to watch movies in his company). Most recently a friend gave me a copy of the award-winning 3 Idiots, which features (among other delights) a song and dance routine in the shower room of a men’s engineering university. Even DH enjoyed it. (The film I mean – not the guys in the shower!)
Anyway, it seems only fitting that I should release my first Bollywood-inspired novel on the very day that the film genre turned 100! Actually, Rajasthani Moon is more than just a Bollywood erotic romance. It’s a steam punk – shapeshifter – BDSM – ménage – Rubenesque – multicultural Bollywood romance. And I must warn you, it’s much hotter than your typical Bollywood movie.
Still, it has its fair share of turbans and saris, marble palaces and massive fortresses, exotic ceremonies and music. There’s even a Rajasthani wedding!
Here’s the blurb, and an excerpt with a bit of a Bollywood flavor.
Cecily Harrowsmith, secret agent extraordinaire, is a woman on a mission. When the remote Indian kingdom of Rajasthan refused to remit its taxes to the Empire, Her Majesty imposed an embargo. Deprived of the energy-rich mineral viridium, essential for modern technology and development, Rajasthan was expected to quickly give in and resume its payments. Yet after three years, the rebellious principality still has not knuckled under. Cecily undertakes the difficult journey to the rugged, arid land of the Rajputs to determine just how it has managed to survive, and if possible to convince the country to return to the Empire’s embrace. Instead, she’s taken captive by a brigand who turns out to be the ruler’s half-brother Pratan and delivered into the hands of the sexy but sadistic Rajah Amir, who expertly mingles torture and delight in his interrogation of the voluptuous interloper.
Cursed before birth by Amir’s jealous mother, Pratan changes to a ravening wolf whenever the moon is full. Cecily uncovers the counter-spell that can reverse the effects of the former queen’s hex and tries to trade that information for her freedom. Drawn to the fierce wolf-man and sympathising with his suffering, she volunteers to serve as the sacrifice required by the ritual – offering her body to the beast. In return, the Rajah reveal Rajasthan’s amazing secret source of energy. In the face of almost impossible odds, Cecily has accomplished the task entrusted to her by the Empire. But can she really bear to leave the virile half-brothers and their colourful land behind and return to constraints of her life in England?
“Aiya, aiya! Heya arh!” A lone singer began the chant, but soon everyone in the place joined in, the sound of hundreds of voices rising like thunder in the enclosed courtyard.
A troupe of acrobats flew into the space, cartwheeling around the dancing animals and tumbling under their bellies. Three of the performers vaulted onto the elephants’ backs to ride them out of the arena while the children clapped and sang.
Before Cecily could catch her breath, the music changed, flutes weaving a rapid, driving melody spun on a foundation of drums and cymbals. A dozen women skipped into the amphitheatre, twirling and stamping their belled feet, while their circle skirts and gossamer veils swirled around them. The bangles on their wrists flashed with each pirouette like slivers of moonlight.
Next came the male dancers, the drums more insistent, a vocalist wailing along with the something that sounded like a clarinet to Cecily’s Western-influenced ears. The men jerked and capered, their angular movements a sharp contrast to the fluid gestures of the women.
There was swordplay and trained horses. A girl of incomparable grace danced with a burning lamp balanced on her head. Two near-naked youths executed athletic capers while holding flaming torches in both hands. Next came a mock battle between two automatons. Their metallic armour reflected the glow globes embedded in the stone walls.
Cecily stole a glance at her captors. Both Amir and Pratan appeared focused on the spectacle. Even as she admired their elegant profiles and pondered her possible fate, however, Amir turned to catch her watching.
He brushed his fingertips over her hair, before reaching down to stroke the side of her breast through the bodice. The casual touch sent a bolt of pleasure straight to her pussy. “Are you bored, Miss Harrowsmith?”
“Oh, no, not at all… It’s all extremely impressive. I’m just wondering how you manage everything—where you’re getting the viridium to power the lights and the machines…”
“You’ll have to do more than just ask if you want to ferret out my secrets.” One finger traced the line of her neckline, idly it seemed, barely grazing her bare skin. Her clit pulsed, all out of proportion to his minimalist caress.
“I’m willing to do whatever is necessary, Your Highness, to repair the diplomatic breach between your country and my own.” Cecily bit back her groan of frustration as the Rajah withdrew his hand.
His luscious voice held a mocking edge. “Believe me, Cecily, I intend to test your willingness most fully.”
She honestly couldn’t decide whether her shiver was owing to fear or anticipation.
“But look—here’s the final dance.”
The silver arc of the new moon rode high above the courtyard now. The musicians took up a new song, with a pounding beat Cecily felt deep in her belly. The crowd clustered around the edges of the amphitheatre poured in the centre, churning and writhing to the insistent drums. The brothers stood, swaying with the rhythm, clapping in time.
Cecily couldn’t bear to sit still. Hampered by the chain and her loose-draped clothing, she clambered to her feet. Everyone was whirling, stomping, wailing along with the singer. The courtyard below was a kaleidoscope, coloured patterns forming and dissolving, shifting before her eyes.
Pratan was doing a sort of jig that would have been ludicrous if he’d been a less graceful, well-made man. Amir dipped and turned as though entranced by the music. The beat was infectious, impossible to deny.
The song was a drug—everyone was intoxicated. It flowed through Cecily’s body like molten energy. She had to answer its call, had to move, but her fetters made that impossible. “Please,” she begged. “Unfasten the cuffs.” She seized a handful of Amir’s tunic, trying to make him pay attention. “Free me—let me dance! Please!”
The Rajah stared at her, still swaying, his eyes unfocused. Gradually he came to his senses. “Oh—you. I’d almost forgotten. The music does that.”
He leaned in to brush his lips across hers. It was the barest touch, just enough to give her an impression of soft flesh and a whiff of anise. She wanted to scream at his smug grin. Instead, she moaned, as he gave her breast a rude squeeze.
“Free you? A luscious, sensitive, devious creature like you? Not bloody likely, my dear. Oh no, if you think you’re bound now—just wait for later.”
Get your own copy of Rajasthani Moon today from Total-E-Bound, and save 10% off the normal price!
To celebrate the birthday of Bollywood, I’m giving you a present. Leave a comment below, with your email, and you might win a copy of Monsoon Fever, a M/M/F ménage set in the state of Assam, with a typically delicious Indian hero.
Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – nearly fifty single author titles, plus dozens of short stories in various erotic anthologies, including the Lambda winner Where the Girls Are and the IPPIE Best Erotic Book of 2011, Carnal Machines. Her gay scifi erotic romance Quarantine won a Rainbow Awards 2012 Honorable Mention.
Lisabet has more degrees than anyone would ever need, from prestigious educational institutions who would no doubt be deeply embarrassed by her chosen genre. She has traveled widely and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her indulgent husband and two exceptional felines, where she pursues an alternative career that is completely unrelated to her creative writing.