by Stephanie Draven
It’s my mission to write very smart books for very bad girls.
And because flappers were the original bad girls of American history, I can’t wait to tell you about my new collection, It Stings So Sweet.
Set in the Roaring Twenties--a notoriously naughty decade known for its gorgeous short dresses, seductive silent films, and liquor-soaked excesses--this erotic romance explores alternate sexuality in a time before the words or community for it existed.
The book is told from the perspective of three very different women, each of whom experiences a sexual awakening. But in order to get into their heads, I had to ask myself what life would have been like for each of them on a daily basis.
Nora Richardson is a society girl, born into a great deal of wealth. When she wakes up in the morning her girl, Dolly, is on hand to deliver her tea and scones on a beautiful gilded tray before she even has to roll out of her silken bedsheets. (Think the latest episode of Downton Abbey, here, where all the ladies start their days in bed with a lady’s maid at the ready.)
Silent screen star Clara Cartwright, by contrast, spends her morning at her vanity, making sure to paint a cupid’s bow of lipstick on her glamorous lips before she braves the crowds that beg for her autograph. Her doorman calls for a car to be brought around to bring her to the studio where she works hard in rehearsals, which, she complains, sap her pep!
It’s different for Sophie O’Brien, who wakes up at the crack of dawn in the one-bedroom flat she shares with her roommates, then rushes to catch the trolley so that she can start work bright and early as a shop girl in the famous Aster Hotel. There, Sophie is secretly organizing porters and elevator operators and maids to form a labor union, so she doesn’t want her fabulously wealthy boss to get wind of fact that she spends her nights at the Civics League listening to agitators and revolutionaries.
Through these women, I was able to get a slice of life in the era during which women had just won the vote, and it made me appreciate how hard it was for them to define themselves in and out of the bedroom. There’s a lot we can learn from flappers, and I hope to start the revival with my new book!
STEPHANIE DRAVEN is a bestselling, award-winning and RITA-nominated author of historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Her newest project, IT STINGS SO SWEET is a collection of 1920s historical erotic romances that celebrate sex, women, and the Jazz Age. Her most recent novel with Entangled Publishing, IN BED WITH THE OPPOSITION, is a mix of humor and sex-appeal set against the backdrop of a zany political campaign inspired by the career of Baltimore legend William Donald Schaefer. Both novels are fun departures from her more serious Greek mythology-inspired series for Harlequin's Nocturne line, the debut novel of which was nominated by Romantic Times for Best First Series. The series has earned critical praise for its originality and awareness of social issues and garnered the 2012 SWIRL award for excellence in multi-cultural romance literature as well as the CataRomance's Reviewers Choice Award. Writing historical fiction about Cleopatra’s daughter as Stephanie Dray, she won the Golden Leaf Award for SONG OF THE NILE. Stephanie is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books. StephanieDraven.com
They vibrated with incendiary Jazz. They teemed with sexual abandon. The Twenties were roaring and the women–young, open, rebellious, and willing–set the pace and pushed the limits with every man they met…
In the aftermath of a wild, liquor-soaked party, three women from very different social classes are about to live out their forbidden desires.
Society girl, Nora Richardson’s passionate nature has always been a challenge to her ever-patient husband. Now he wants out of the marriage and she has just this one night to win him back. The catch? He wants to punish her for her bad behavior. Nora is offended by her husband’s increasingly depraved demands, but as the night unfolds, she discovers her own true nature and that the line between pain and pleasure is very thin indeed.
Meanwhile, Clara Cartwright, sultry siren of the silent screen, is introduced to a mysterious WWI Flying Ace. If Clara, darling of the scandal sheets, knows anything, it’s men. And she’s known plenty. But none of them push her boundaries like the aviator, who lures her into a ménage with a stranger in a darkened cinema then steals her jaded heart.
Working class girl Sophie O’Brien has more important things on her mind than pleasures of the flesh. But when her playboy boss, the wealthy heir to the Aster family fortune, confronts her with her diary of secret sex fantasies, she could die of shame. To her surprise, he doesn’t fire her; instead, he dares her to re-enact her boldest fantasies and Sophie is utterly seduced.
One party serves as a catalyst of sexual awakening. And in an age when anything goes, three women discover that anything is possible…