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How far can we go? by Hannah Murray

by Red Sage Publishing

As everyone reading this blog knows, the romance novel has come a long way. Gone are the days of He swept her into his arms to carry her off, determined to bring her to heights of ecstasy heretofore unknown….fade out. And thank God for it. More and more publishing houses are following the trailblazing example of Red Sage and taking the leap into erotic romance, and a once taboo sub genre is now a major player. And it makes me wonder…how far will it go?

However far it is, I’m all for it! My novella The Boy Next Door in Secrets 27 is the perfect example of a story that ten years ago probably would have been laughed out of the room. With a few notable exceptions I doubt an editor would have even let me get through the pitch before turning me down. “It’s a story about a woman who wants to be tied up in bed…” I’d say. The reply would almost certainly have been, “Sorry, we don’t do that.”

Of course these days bondage stories are almost de rigueur, a standard of the kinky romance. Publishing houses routinely accept – and actively ask for! – stories with kink, ménage a trois, multiple sex partner tales, and some are even branching out into a sub genre that probably has Barbara Cartland rolling over in her grave: the Male/Male romance.

All of the exciting leaps the industry is taking make me very happy – I’m not what you’d call a traditional girl, either as writer or as a reader of romance. And it definitely makes me wonder just what I could get away with as a writer. See, I have a few ideas about some kinky practices that I personally find very sexy and romantic, but which might…how shall I say this delicately….cause my readership to freak the hell out. They’re definitely edgy, definitely shocking…but maybe, just maybe, I could make it work.

Hmm…I think it’s too soon. But I’m keeping my eye on things. Someday, the story waiting in my head will make it onto the page. Someday romance readers will be ready for it. Oh, I wonder what this world will look like then?

We’ve come a long way, baby, but I can’t wait to see where we end up.


Excerpt of The Boy Next Door, Secrets 27 Untamed Pleasures
Copyright © Hannah Murray, 2009
All Rights Reserved, Red Sage Publishing

“I really love my life,” Jacob drawled.

“Mine’s starting to look pretty good,” Isa said, her voice muffled by the comforter.

“Darlin’, you should see it from this angle,” he drawled, and sat back to admire his handiwork.

The tableau before him was straight out of his fantasies, the ones that had started the day Isa moved in next door to him. She was on her knees, her ankles tied to the bottom corners of the bed. He’d lashed her wrists together and then pulled them under her body and between her spread feet, tying the rope off on the footboard. The position held her shoulders pressed to the mattress and her ass in the air, and he couldn’t resist running a hand over the curve of her hip.

“Um… it’s not that I don’t appreciate the ingenuity,” Isa said, turning her face to the side and peering up at him from behind a curtain of hair. “But I’m feeling kind of exposed here.”

“I know.” He slid his hand around to her other hip. “I like looking at you like this, all spread out and helpless.”

She made a soft, purring sound at that. “Well, when you put it that way, I like it too. But it does beg the question.”

He was busy testing the firmness of her ass by gently squeezing and releasing the rounded cheeks. They were very firm. “What question is that?”

“Are you going to look all day, or fuck me?”

The question startled a laugh out of him. “Why Isabella, such language! What would your mother say?”

He saw her wince behind her hair. “Dude, are you trying to kill the mood? Don’t mention my mother.”

He was still chuckling. “Right. Good idea. But I can’t let that kind of language slide. It’s rude.”

She snorted. “Rude. Right. I’ve got my ass so high in the air it’s getting altitude sickness, and the word ‘fuck’ is just too crude.”

“That’s a dirty mouth you’ve got, darlin’. Maybe we should do something about that.”

She snorted again. “Oh yeah? Like what?”

“Like this,” he said, and brought his hand down on the curve of her ass with a crack.
Isa yelped. “Hey! Who said you could do that?”

“You did.” He ran his hand over the bloom of red his hand had left on her cheek.

“Don’t you remember? A little bondage, may be a slap on the ass here or there.”

Isa’s voice was thick with suppressed laughter. “I don’t think that qualifies as a negotiation, pal. I was drunk!”

“That’s true,” he allowed. “Strictly speaking, you didn’t give your consent to a spanking. But since you’re here…” he slapped the other cheek.

She was giggling openly now, her body shaking with it. He hid his own grin and put on his best big bad man voice. “You’re laughing? This is funny?”

“Well, it does kind of tickle.”


She laughed again, the sound bursting out of her at the outrage in his voice.
“Tickle?” he said again. “I’ll show you tickle, woman!” He dug his fingers into her ribs, moving with her as she squealed and wriggled to get away. “Ah ha! Not so funny now, is it?”

She was laughing so hard she could barely breathe, her entire body moving and flexing against the ropes as she tried to evade his dancing fingers. “You asshole!” she managed to get out between gasps for air.

“Asshole? There’s that mouth again,” he rumbled and smacked her upturned ass, a little harder this time.

“Ah!” she gasped, her head coming up off the bed in shock. He rubbed his palm over her cheek, the sting from the initial blow fading into a spreading warmth. He repeated the action with the other cheek, and Isa moaned and dropped her head back to the mattress.

Check out Hannah’s website ( for more excerpts, “behind the book” tidbits, and for your chance to win some of the awesome TwistedMonk bondage rope used by Jacob and Isa in The Boy Next Door.


Emma Petersen July 23, 2009 at 6:59 am

"See, I have a few ideas about some kinky practices that I personally find very sexy and romantic, but which might…how shall I say this delicately….cause my readership to freak the hell out."

Hehe. Hey Hannah! *waves* I think you'd be shocked at how ready your readers might be. A good friend of mine wrote a story for Spice that included knifeplay and it was really well received. *shrugs* I think the more it's out there the more normalized it's becoming. Either way, good luck! I can't wait to read this story.


jrobe10689 July 23, 2009 at 7:20 am

If you don't write it, you will never know if the readers are ready for it. For all you know you may start the newest niche.

Hannah July 23, 2009 at 7:58 am

Emma: what's the name of that story? I'd be interested to see how far it went.

Carly Carson July 23, 2009 at 9:07 am

I like your excerpt, but I have to admit it's the repartee that appeals to me most. My imagination is not what I thought it was as I can't think of what you might be imagining that hasn't been done. Of course, you could always do it better! lol


Hannah July 23, 2009 at 9:20 am

Carly: I like the repartee too. No matter what else is going on in my story – in the bedroom or out – it's vital to me to have smart, sexy dialogue. And I think it adds to the tension…that's why flirting is so much fun. 😉

bookdragon3 July 23, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Sweetie, when was the last time you made me freak out? Half the time I was the other one discussing the kink d'jour.

Hannah July 24, 2009 at 6:40 am

bookdragon3: too true!

Armenia July 24, 2009 at 9:12 am

I certainly have "learned" a few tricks from SECRETS. BDSM is certainly new to me, and I have to admit a very fascinating kink. If other readers are "freaked", hey, they can always go elsewhere to get their HEA.

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