Jocelynn Drake stopped by to share an interview she conducted with one of her characters from her brand new series The Asylum Tales. The first of two prequel stories, THE ASYLUM INTERVIEWS: BRONX is available today from Harper Voyager (the review will be up later today) and if this little taste of Parker (a tortured incubus) whets your appetite for more…be sure to preorder ANGEL’S INK and look for the next short story THE ASYLUM INTERVIEWS: TRIXIE in September. Here’s Jocelyn to introduce her interview:
To celebrate the release of the new novella (THE ASYLUM INTERVIEWS: BRONX) and the new series (THE ASYLUM TALES), I popped over to Low Town to interview Gage and some of his friends who appear in his stories. Let’s just say it was an adventure. This somewhat long interview will be posted in five parts over the next week, introducing you to Gage’s world and friends.
Seeking Asylum: Jocelynn Drake’s Adventure in Low Town
A knock at the door startles me and I turn a confused expression on Gage, who is struggling to keep a grin from his face. Damn it, the devil has planned something. Gage gets up from his end of the couch and walks to the door. He doesn’t ask who it is before pulling it open. He already knows. I rise from my seat as if pulled by an invisible thread as a breathtakingly handsome man strolls in. His eyes are locked on me. When my brain starts functioning again, I glare at Gage, who is looking far too tickled with himself. I know who this is. Gage had described him as having a movie star face and the body of an underwear model. From what I can see, it’s an accurate description.
“Parker Banton, I presume,” I say, extending my hand to the man.
His smile grows as he takes my hand in both of his and kisses the top. “The writer.” His voice curls warmly through my brain, slightly fogging my thoughts but I shake it off as best I can.
“Mrs. Drake,” I add firmly. Or at least I try to sound firm and cold, but there’s a small waver in my voice. I’ve never been a big fan of extremely attractive men and Parker was more dangerous than most.
Parker stiffens and looks over his shoulder at Gage. “Married?”
“As far as you’re concerned Mr. Banton, I am,” I say before Gage can comment.
The tattoo artist chuckles at me. “He’ll behave himself, Joce.”
“I know your sense of humor, Gage. I don’t trust you.” He laughs again, not insulted in the least because he knows I’m right. “I guess this is your way of ending the interview.”
“Yep.” Gage grins at me before walking out the door he’s holding open. I’m not done with him and he knows it, but I let it slide for now as I’d rather not cause a scene in front of Parker.
As soon as the door closes, the apartment seems significantly smaller next to Parker, who is still holding my hand. I quickly pull my hand from his, fisting it at my side as if trying to push away the memory of his warm touch, and I step backward. I don’t like retreating from someone, but I need some room to breathe again. I am largely comfortable with Gage and Trixie because they don’t need something from me in order to survive. Parker does and it makes me nervous. I know it shows and it’s amusing Parker, almost encouraging him.
“Shall we get started?” he asks, and I swear for a moment my mind completely blanks as to what he’s talking about, but I nod and follow him over to the couch. He takes the seat the Gage had vacated and I return to the far end of the couch. Setting my notebook in my lap, I lean forward and double check the recorder.
Drake: I’m sorry, but I wasn’t planning on interviewing you this evening.
Parker: I have a feeling that you weren’t planning to interview me at all despite the fact that I play a large role in Gage’s first story. I also have a feeling that you don’t like me much.
Drake: (I look over at him and frown. He’s smiling.) How can I not like you? I don’t know you. This is the first time we’ve ever met.
Parker: Then what would you call it? I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone so stiff and uncomfortable.
Drake: It’s not that I don’t like you. It’s just that I’m uncomfortable.
Parker: Because I’m an incubus.
Parker: So you’re a speciesist.
Parker: Speciesist. It’s like being a racist, but you’re prejudiced against a certain species.
Drake: I don’t mean to be, but I guess I am. It’s like sitting down with a so-called tame lion. In the end, I’m still your dinner.
Parker: (His grin become something more devious and the room become almost unbearably hot) Yes, but I promise that when I feed, you will be screaming in ecstasy, not pain.
Drake: No, thank you.
Parker: It’s just an orgasm. Does that scare you?
Parker: You look like you could use one.
Drake: No, thank you. I’m married.
Parker: That explains why you need one. Is he—
Drake: (I jump to my feet, confused as to how I so quickly lost control of this interview) Stop right there. We are not discussing my love life and I am not dinner for you regardless of what Gage may have told you.
Parker: I know. I do have some self-control, you know?
As he relaxes against the couch, it seems like the room instantly cools off and the unbearable tension that had been crawling over my skin disappears. My heart rate slows and it becomes easier to breathe. My eyes narrow on the incubus and he at least has the decency to blush a little.
Drake: You were using magic on me.
Parker: Just a little. Gage said I should tease you a little. I didn’t mean to make you so angry.
I flop down on the couch, feeling a like an ass. He hadn’t threatened to hurt me, which I was beginning to think I could have handled better. He had threatened to give me pleasure, which made me wonder about society a little when I was more afraid of pleasure than pain, but I quickly redirected my thoughts.
Drake: I’m sorry that I’ve been so rude. I’m still adjusting to a lot of things here. Why don’t we just do the interview if you’re still interested?
Parker: That would be fine. What would you like to know?
Drake: Would you mind explaining to my readers what it means to be an incubus?
Parker: Not at all. We are another species that needs to feed of the sexual pleasure off another, specifically in the form of an orgasm. We eat regular food like others but it doesn’t give us the nourishment that we really need. Other than that, we’re like most other races. We have jobs, pay taxes, and hang out with friends.
Drake: Can you feed off any race? Do you have a preference?
Parker: Any race that orgasms. Humanoid is my preference.
Drake: How often do you need to feed?
Parker: It depends on how old you are. The older you are, the longer you can go. I’m in my twenties, so the longest I can go comfortably is a few days, but I prefer to dine at least once a day. Bad things can happen if you go too long.
Drake: What kind of bad things?
Parker: (shifts a little on the couch as if he’s suddenly uncomfortable) Bad decisions. You may find yourself seducing someone who you wouldn’t have otherwise, compromising your morals. You become reckless if you are too near to starving.
Drake: How long is your average lifespan?
Parker: Just like humans. Most live to their seventies, though a few occasionally sneak into their eighties.
Drake: Now I’m assuming that you’re not born with this hunger. I mean, babies…?
Parker: (chuckles lightly) Disturbing thought, isn’t it? You’re right. As children, we get by with regular food. The hunger kicks in at puberty.
Drake: From Gage’s story, we see that you try to manage a monogamous relationship. (Parker’s expression closes off and he looks away from me. It’s been a few years since it happened, but it’s apparently a sore topic still.) Does your species pursue relationships?
Parker: We’re like humans in that we need companionship and love. (His voice is sharp and hard.) It’s not all about sex. I like having someone at the end of the day to just talk to and laugh with or watch movies with on a rainy day. But … yeah, it’s complicated. When you try to date another race, you have to make sure they understand that it can’t be a completely monogamous relationship because of my health demands. Humans have a lot of sexual hang-ups and it can make being with someone you love painful and just… impossible.
I feel guilty now for asking the question. From Gage’s description, Parker had deeply loved Jill, and a part of me was wondering if he would ever stop loving her. The pain reflected in his eyes somehow makes him even more beautiful and heart-breaking. Without thinking, I reach across and squeeze the hand fisted closest to me.
Drake: I am sorry.
Parker: I knew it was doomed from the start, but sometimes you just have to try because your heart won’t let you turn away. I don’t fault her. She was being true to herself and I respect that. We tried.
Drake: You’ll find someone. If Gage can find someone to put up with him, you can certainly find someone.
Parker squeezes my hand, his thumb slowly sliding along the inside of my wrist. When he looks up at me, the pain is gone from his eyes and I can feel the heat rising in the room again. His low chuckle snaps my brain back into action and I look around to find that I had somehow scooted a little closer to him. The smile is back on his lips. I quickly release his hand and move back to the far end of the couch.
Drake: You’re more dangerous than a lion.
Parker: (Laughs softly and it’s like swallowing warm chocolate) Sorry. You’re a challenge and that can be the worst temptation.
Drake: I noticed. Would you try dating another human?
Parker: You interested?
Drake: No. Answer the question.
Parker: Maybe. It depends on the human.
Drake: Are you really as handsome and sexy as you seem to be?
Parker: (his head falls back as he laughs deeply) I don’t know. How sexy do you think I am? (At my frown, he turns a little more serious) If you’re talking about glamour, I’m not using any. My species doesn’t use glamour. Our magic just relaxes you, lowers a few inhibitions, makes you more … susceptible to my influence. If you find me sexy or handsome, it’s because I appeal to you. There are many races that don’t find me attractive.
Drake: (I clear my throat and glance down at the notebook in my lap, though I can’t read a damn word of it. My mind finally latches on a new question.) What do you think of Gage’s decision to tell his story?
Parker: It’s just kind of funny. I mean, I think it’s a little strange that people would be interested in the story of a tattoo artist, but then I guess if your world doesn’t have trolls and incubi, then his story might be interesting. Gage is a pretty strange guy too, so that would make it interesting as well. He’s got a knack for getting into trouble like no one else I’ve ever known.
Drake: What do you think of his relationship with Trixie? Do you think it will last?
Parker: (laughs) I think I’m the last person you should be asking about relationships. I’m happy for him and I really hope he doesn’t mess it up. He seems a lot happier with her. It’s a shame that she works with him – work relationships can be messy – but they seem to be handling it well.
Drake: I think that’s everything I need. Thank you for meeting with me.
Parker pushes to his feet and I rise as well, placing my notebook on the table before walking over to the door. He’s close behind me and I can feel the heat rolling off his body. I don’t think he’s using magic on me again. I’m beginning to think that maybe there’s just some low-level magic that naturally comes off him. I turn to face him, surprised that I hadn’t noticed before how tall he is when I extend my hand to him. Once again, he takes my hand in both of his.
“Thank you for your time,” I say, trying to think of a way to extricate my hand without looking like I don’t want to touch him.
He smiles and I know he can feel my discomfort. “Thank you for tolerating me.”
“You know I don’t mean to be so uncomfortable around you.”
“I know. Are you really married?”
“Some married women like a little extra something—”
His smile never wavers as he shakes my hand instead of trying to kiss it. “He’s a lucky man.” Without another word, he leaves the apartment and I close my eyes on a sigh of relief. The room suddenly seems less crowded and much cooler without him present. I am still planning on throwing something large at Gage’s head for springing Parker on me.
To catch the first part of this five-part series and my meeting with Gage, go to Literary Escapism. The third part of this five-part series will be on Tynga’s Reviews on Wednesday.
July 2 – Literary Escapism : http://www.literaryescapism.
July 4 – Tynga’s Reviews: http://www.tyngasreviews.com/
July 5 – A Great Read: http://jessica-agreatread.
Available on July 3, 2012 from Harper Voyager
In Low Town, where humans walk and work side-by-side with elves, vampires, ogres, and all manner of creature, it’s understandable that people occasionally need a little help in their lives. Whether is love, work, or … other, tattoo artists are there to try to help turn the odds into your favor. When Gage’s friend Parker needs help with his love life, tattoo artists Gage and Bronx are only too happy to help. But the incubus ends up getting more than he bargained for with his new tattoo, and his friends are forced to scramble to fix the mess they’ve created before someone gets hurt.
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