A soldier looking for redemption falls into the arms of the empire's Black Widow...
Galerius, former Captain of the Legion, is honored to be given a chance to redeem himself by discovering who is behind the failing barrier. A series of anonymous letters all point to Hostilius, governor of Lucrilia, but Galerius thinks he'll learn more about the plot by seducing the governor's thrice widowed daughter, Claudia. Although he warns himself not to fall into snare of the empire's most deadly temptress, one kiss leaves him begging for more.
Claudia has spent years as a pawn in her father's political games and longs to break free of his rule, even it means betraying him to the emperor. When Galerius arrives in Tivola, she's not sure if he's there to aid her father or stop him. She willingly submits to his seduction, despite their class differences, in order to find the truth. What she doesn't expect to find is a man who indulges her secret fantasies, satisfying her in a way none of her previous husbands did, and treats her as something more than a conquest. As time runs out to thwart her father's plans, she must decide if she can trust Galerius not only with her life, but her heart.
Thank you, Mrs. Crista McHugh
You didn’t hide that your Deizian Empire was inspired by Stargate and a documentary about Caligula. Where does the history stop and fantasy begin in Deizian Empire?
The history stops with some of the world-building. Yes, I used basics of everyday life in Ancient Rome, from the baths to the pageantry of celebratory games, and I won’t lie in that I wove some elements from the lives of famous Romans into my story (like Hostilius’s love of tossing people off a cliff for entertainment), but I tried to weave in more magic and create a bigger “what if?”. What if Hadrian’s Wall was really a magical dome that protected the empire from “Barbarians” from another world?
The Ancient Rome was pretty libertine. How do you image Rome morality in Deception’s Web and what is your opinion about intimate scenes’ role in a romance story?
Actually, Emperor Augustus enacted some pretty strict morality laws during his reign, but they weren’t really enforced. Sex is part of human nature, so the libertine environment actually allowed me to write stories that are a bit hotter than I normally write. But as with any romance, all sex scenes should move the story forward. Sex is one of the few times when a person is left naked, both physically and emotionally, so you can get some great character growth from a love scene.
Complots, traitors, poisons, magic, politics, sex and love could be a very explosive composition. How do Claudia and Galerius handle it?
It takes some time for them to trust each other. They feel each other out, send spies, do some digging into the other’s pasts before they begin to trust each other. And when the situation becomes the most volatile, it’s their trust that gets them through it.
Both genres, fantasy and romance, have their own fans. What does it take to make them read a mix of these genres?
I think most romance lovers just want a good love story. They’re the easier of the two to win over. There are still some fantasy readers that squirm at the idea of sex in in their fantasy or ask “Is this a kissing book?” (like the kid in The Princess Bride), but if the world-building is solid and the plot action packed, they are sometimes won over.
What healthy reading will recommend us your physician alter ego and what affections we could cure reading?
I advocate reading anything that leaves you hopeful at the end. Hope is what can get a person through a rough time, make them laugh and smile, forget about daily troubles and dream of a better tomorrow.
About the author:
Growing up in small town Alabama, Crista relied on story-telling as a natural way for her to pass the time and keep her two younger sisters entertained.
She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends.
Just for laughs, here are some of the jobs she’s had in the past to pay the bills: barista, bartender, sommelier, stagehand, actress, morgue attendant, and autopsy assistant.
And she’s also a recovering LARPer. (She blames it on her crazy college days)
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