Previously published on Not Now, Mommy’s Screaming:
In 2008, John Everson published a story of mine about a succubus who falls in love with an angel. “The Angel’s Lair” had the honor of opening the collection called Sins of the Sirens. John had especially nice things to say about it in his introduction.
That first Lorelei story expanded into the novel As Above, So Below, which was published by Black Bed Sheets in 2014. Another Lorelei story appears in Ravenous Romance’s Demon Lovers anthology. There are no angels in that one, but plenty of magic. And Led Zeppelin.
As a succubus, Lorelei is sex embodied. She is able to read her prey, alter herself to meet their desires, but she doesn’t feel invested in their happiness other than as a point of pride. She takes her pleasure from a sense of control. She guides her lovers’ responses in such a way that it’s a lot like masturbation with a live person as her sex toy.
That is, until she sets her sights on the angel Azaziel. Lorelei tries to manipulate him into doing what she needs, but she can’t read him, except in flashes. From that point on, her relationship with him is a contest of wills, each grappling with what they like and need and expect from the other in terms of sex.
Writing for Lorelei taught me a lot about how I wanted to approach Raena Zacari, the former assassin in my Templars trilogy. Sex for Raena is even more overtly about control. She grew up as a slave who served as a bodyguard and slept with her teenaged mistress. When Raena ran away to join humanity’s Imperial diplomatic corps, she fell into a worse situation, where her commanding officer made her his “aide” and set about proving his dominance. Raena discovered the benefits of playing with her master’s arousal as a way to buy back some control.
One of the things that makes Raena differ from Lorelei is that she doesn’t make a sound during sex, which provokes her male lovers. One of them takes it as an emblem of her damage. The other sees it as a challenge: if he can just break her down, get beyond her defenses, he can make her stay.
Of course, Raena would have to care enough to play the game. Instead, she – like Lorelei – takes her pleasure where she finds it, without excuse or guilt. She allows her lovers to exhaust themselves against her, but as soon as their attention drifts, she’s busy getting something for herself. Exploring the limits of feminine sexuality as a way to define character was really fun to write.
And, yeah, I’m interested in masochism, that chasm of desire where the dom is a plaything and the sub is in complete control: uncontainable, unbreakable, barely quenchable. In my novels, every time one character acts violently against another, that violence is a mirror. No one likes their own reflections, except the creatures at the center of the mirrors – Lorelei and Raena – who see this all as play and the mattress as the best playground of all.
About the Author:
Loren Rhoads is the author of The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes — the In the Wake of the Templars trilogy — all coming from Night Shade Books in 2015. She’s the co-author with Brian Thomas of a succubus/angel novel called As Above, So Below and solo author of a collection of travel essays from graveyards around the world called Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. She’s also the editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two and Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual.