Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, LLC (April 8, 2016)
Amazon Kindle: Victory Portrait (Pride of Uttor#4)
Blurb: Imperial captive and former Sebboyan prince Peta Kordeun has one great wish: to meet Darius Arrento, conqueror of his country and a man he has idolized since childhood. That wish comes true the day the Uttoran emperor assigns Peta to assist the artist who will be painting the great general’s official portrait.
General Darius Arrento would rather take a crossbow bolt through his flesh than sit for a portrait, until his friend the emperor forces his hand. The notorious artist, Brazzi, uses semen and other sexual fluids to bind his colors—and Arrento is captivated by the artist’s pretty helper. Before long he is driven to possess the gorgeous young man who draws battle maps and whose naïve charm has won more hearts in Uttor than Arrento has won battles.
When Arrento learns that Peta, the slave he covets and wants for his own, is one of the despised Kordeun princes, he storms from Uttor toward a far corner of the empire—where he quickly finds himself embroiled in a plot to tear Uttor’s empire apart. His emotions and loyalties frayed, the great Arrento is in the battle of his life…and Peta may hold the key to his survival.
“You want me to assist the painter. Only that?” Peta asked.
“Yes. I just want you to understand you will be naked and…Brazzi will want you to be sexually aroused.”
“It’s what Brazzi does. Not for himself—not unless you’re a woman—but for his method. He was tried three years ago on charges of obscenity because he uses…sexual fluids for mixing his paint. He truly is a genius. His colors are astonishing.”
“And you want Arrento to see me like that? Naked and…being used?”
“No.” Gaspar was being firm. “I want a portrait of my general. And I happen to think that the sight of you will keep his ass firmly planted for whatever sittings the painter requires. You see, Darius has one weakness—only one. He cannot resist a thing of beauty—and you, my pretty slave, are the most breathtaking young man I have ever had the privilege to look upon.”
Peta flushed. Gaspar wasn’t smiling. The man was serious.
Could he do it? Did he want to do it? Peta knew he was pretty. His looks had blessed and cursed him all his life. His beauty had attracted Kesme as a fellow cadet and was what Kesme had praised that last night when they’d made love...and Peta’s face was what Lukacz, his own father, had sought to destroy, thinking that doing so would release him from predation and unnatural desires. And now Gaspar, too, wanted only one thing…
“Just sit there and look pretty,” he said, heart sinking as he grasped what Gaspar was asking him to do.
“Only if you’re willing. I’m not completely oblivious to what this sort of service might entail. It could be rather…awkward. On the other hand, it might not be for long. Darius can be stubborn. It’s possible he won’t show up.”
And just as possible that he would.
Peta wanted to say no but he could not get his mouth to form the word. He might never get another chance to see Arrento, perhaps hear his voice. Be in the same room with him.
He’d be silent…naked…terribly exposed even in his utter worship.
But he would at least be able to say he had seen the great man.
“I’ll do it,” he said.
Meet the author: Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.
Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college, enjoyed a series of interesting careers, and raised three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.
Tali’s other books include the three preceding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, and Adored, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds, are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often posts free stories and excerpts on her blog.
"Thanks so much, Elisa, for having me stop by to talk about Victory Portrait, my new release. I had a lot of fun writing this book, particularly because I really enjoyed working with my favorite tropes. Tropes get a bad rap in some quarters, but I rather respect them.
When I was in the ninth grade, a most amazing English teacher gave my young mind one of its first glimpses of adult thinking. To children everything tends to be painted either black or white. Good or bad. True or not true.
This teacher, in preparation for learning Shakespeare, wrote “stereotype” on the chalk board. (We had chalk boards, which were indisputably bad because they were dirty.)
Stereotype. Good? Or bad?
To a child, we were certain we had this one pegged: stereotypes were bad. It was a time of peace marches, TV news, nuclear threats, civil rights and feminism. Stereotypes, we knew, were used by that murky entity The Establishment to put good people down.
My teacher pointed out that The Establishment was, itself, a stereotype. Dang. I hadn’t thought of that. She went on to lead us in a fascinating (to this day) discussion of all the different stereotypes we knew about, which ones we believed, and which ones we wanted to change. We had a great deal of fun looking at all the stereotypes in Romeo and Juliet, and talking about which ones existed then and still existed in our time.
Turns out stereotypes exist not because of some evil stereotype-creating conspiracy, but because stereotypes are simplified, often over-simplified, perceptions that may or may not be true—and they have roots in something that either is true or that people want to believe.
A stereotype is a cultural shortcut. We use them to say we know or understand something or someone, rather than take the extra time and effort to create understanding for each individual or event. We use stereotypes to understand something just enough—and no more.
Tropes, like stereotypes, exist as shortcuts. As a writer I’m particularly fond of the captive trope in romance. You know the one: virgin (usually, though not always) captured by a powerful man, leading to mind-blowing sex and happy ever after. I like to combine this trope with other favorites, like royalty or the alpha hero. Enemies to lovers is another fun one. The trope keys in on what’s at the core of that story’s relationship.
In Victory Portrait, my latest release, the captive royal main character (not quite a virgin but might as well be) is of course thrown together with an alpha hero and a bit of enemies to lovers. That is, to be sure, a vast oversimplification of the plot and characters, but it would be laughable to deny that these tropes are present.
As a reader, I use tropes to help decide what to read. Give me an alien prince, a little captivity, perhaps a billionaire due his comeuppance, maybe a sweet new guy in town meets crusty native who just needs to get the stick out of his… well, you get my drift. We all have our favorites, and we look for books that will give us those things.
Or, as is my case, I write them. Like Shakespeare, just not as good."
Where to find the author:
Facebook: : http://www.facebook.com/tali.spencer
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29851588-victory-portrait
Tour Dates & Stops:
18-Apr: Prism Book Alliance
19-Apr: Decadent Delights
20-Apr: Bonkers About Books, Full Moon Dreaming
21-Apr: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
22-Apr: Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
25-Apr: The Novel Approach, Happily Ever Chapter
26-Apr: BFD Book Blog
27-Apr: My Fiction Nook
28-Apr: Bayou Book Junkie, V's Reads
29-Apr: Oh My Shelves
2-May: Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings, Book Lovers 4Ever
3-May: Kirsty Loves Books, Open Skye Book Reviews
4-May: Alpha Book Club
5-May: Wicked Faerie's Tales and Reviews
6-May: Molly Lolly
9-May: A.M. Leibowitz
10-May: Divine Magazine
11-May: Love Bytes, Man2ManTastic, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat
12-May: Andrew Q. Gordon, Nephy Hart, Rebecca Cohen Writes
13-May: Louise Lyons, MM Good Book Reviews
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