As we take part in the season of Halloween, I always find myself thinking not only of trick-or-treating, but of Heaven and Hell. All Souls Day is right around the corner, and yes I know this because I was once a good Catholic girl. Do you ever wonder what lies beyond? Some people say that we are currently living our hell on earth, but is it possible hell exists? I’m sure Dante had some opinions.
Is hell really a fire and brimstone kinda place, or is it an outlet for humanity’s baser desires? A place where anything goes. Where sins are welcome and encouraged. And would we want to give into those sins once there, forever mired in a cesspool of carnality? Would it be delicious or terrifying?
I’ve touched on this topic in my paranormal romance Sweet Hell. In this novel, the Greek god Dionysus is forced to take a journey to hell with my heroine Josie. And Josie is quiet surprised by what she sees there. All is not fire and brimstone, but is it any less horrifying? And can they escape it once there?
Read on, and tell me…do you think hell could be a sexy place?
Dionysus, Greek god of wine and theater, is the world’s original playboy. But
lately, he has been restless, moody, and he knows something is wrong. His
carefree and bacchanal lifestyle is starting to feel like one long string of
meaningless, sexual escapades. Even worse, he is suddenly aroused by the idea of
marriage. And to top it all off, Josie Marino, the mouthy, disheveled, and
eternally annoying woman who serves him coffee at the local bakery, sets him on
Josie, a Toronto baker of Italian heritage, is not looking for
love or lust. Especially not with Dionysus Iros, the most aggravating, demanding
customer she’d ever had to serve. With his rippling muscles and sexy, knowing
eyes, he’s obviously trouble with a capital T. Unfortunately, he’s also the star
of her every X-rated dream. She’s known players like Dionysus before, and one of
them almost got the better of her. Josie determines she will not fall for his
considerable physical charms, come hell or high water.
But Dionysus turns
strangely protective when a sinister character arrives at Josie’s bakery, and
they can no longer deny their unwanted feelings for one another. They are forced
to embark on a bizarre, sexually-charged journey to hell itself, which threatens
to either change them for the better, or destroy them.
It took about fifteen minutes for them to reach it. With each passing moment, Josie felt her heart speeding up. Up close, the mansion seemed even bigger, with various wings that seemed to stretch off into different directions. It seemed to her the house not only must have north, south, east, and west wings, but also some wings going in directions that hadn’t been invented yet.
It was shockingly ornate, reminiscent of the grand country estates her parents had brought her to on her first trip to Europe years ago. This place was even more stately, each detail meant to impress and intimidate, yet it was oddly welcoming at the same time. With its scrolled railings, pretty balconies, and Gothic peaks, it reminded her of a fairy-tale castle from her girlish dreams. The sort of place in which she’d always wanted to live. Surrounded as it was by a sprawling English garden, it was too heavenly to be hell.
“I can’t wait to see inside,” she said under her breath, realizing she meant every word. It was the sort of home she could spend weeks exploring.
“Soon enough,” Dionysus said quietly, the annoying smile still playing on his full lips.
Josie stared up at the massive building as they walked up the ostentatious, circular front steps. On each deep step was a marble statue. Or rather, a set of statues. All depicted in the nude. All of them frozen, as if caught in the midst of blatant sexual acts.
The first statue was of a man, his head thrown back in ecstasy, standing before a kneeling woman whose mouth was quite occupied. The next statue depicted a couple leaning up against the marble handrail, the man taking the woman from behind. Josie stared. The fingers digging into the woman’s hips seemed so lifelike, as did the expression of euphoria on her face, it was as if the couple had been turned to stone while in the middle of the act.
With each step, the marble acts of copulation grew more lurid, more imaginative. Some involved groups so large she and Dionysus had to step around them.
As much as it made her nervous about their destination, she couldn’t deny it was also turning her on. Her heart was beating more quickly now. There was a thin bead of sweat on her upper lip. She was squeezing Dionysus’s hand so hard she worried she might break it. And she found she was eager to see each coming statue. Wanted to see all those marble limbs and various appendages, entwined forever.
They finally reached the top step, and she breathed a sigh of relief at being able to look away from the weird statuary. She turned to him. “What is this place?”
His brow was furrowed. He almost looked sorry for her. “Remember the illusion. Each level of hell is designed to make you want to stay there. To linger and forget. To ensnare and distract. This level, The Sinners, is no different. It appeals to the most base of appetites. Most people get caught here. Why do you think the house is so big? It grows with its new additions. Wings are added. Floors are created. It will make you want to stay, too, Josie.”