Our spoiled column shares a look at the books you can't wait to read, long before they hit stores. Today Tiffany Reisz shares how her upcoming Original Sinners novel, The Saint, takes taboo to a new level with the story of how Nora and Søren's relationship got started — when Nora was a 15-year-old parishioner. Plus, Reisz offers readers a touching, super advanced excerpt from the novel at the end of this post!
On Twitter recently, author Delilah Dawson posed a question for her writer-friends. Do you see recurring themes in your books? My answer? Yes. Every one of my Original Sinners novels tackles the theme of the taboo — underage sex, sadism, incest. In the Western world, little is considered more taboo than sex between a Catholic priest and a young person in their congregation. So naturally The Saint (book five in The Original Sinners series), which is a love story between a priest and a teenage parishioner, is my favorite book I’ve ever written.
In the first four present-day books in The Original Sinners series (The Red Years), readers meet Nora Sutherlin, aged 32-35. She’s an erotica writer and a Dominatrix. Her relationship with Søren, the priest she’s been in love with since she was 15, is already established. It’s a fact of her past, her present and her future. Readers see her as an intelligent, successful, sexually adventurous adult (in other words, a rich, kinky smartass who sleeps with anyone she wants to) who lives her life without shame or regret. But before she was Mistress Nora, she was Eleanor Schreiber — a nobody from nowhere with nothing going for her but her high IQ and her smart mouth. When she breaks the law and finds herself looking at six years in Juvenile Detention, it is her priest, not her parents, who comes to her rescue. And they make a pact that will change both their lives forever.
In The Mistress, readers learned the ending of Nora’s story (joyous and sinful — as usual). In The Saint I take readers back to the beginning (The White Years) to see where this woman came from, how she came to be, and why she made the choices she made. The book is neither apology nor defense. It’s merely a story. The story of a poor teenage girl named Eleanor who would grow up to be Nora, Queen of the Underground.
There is a scene in The Saint where 17-year-old Nora (Eleanor) has to make a difficult choice. She makes this life-and-death decision without mercy and without remorse, and she does it in true Mistress Nora style. Not one but two of my early readers of The Saint made the following comment in the margins of this scene:
“This is the moment when Nora Sutherlin is born, isn’t it?” Yes. Yes it is.
The Saint, book one of The White Years, releases May 27th from Mira Books. You may never look at a wine glass the same way again.
Excerpt from The Saint:
“If I’m going to give you forever,” Eleanor said, raising her chin higher, “I want something in return.”
“I already offered to help you out of this disaster. What else do you want?”
Eleanor considered her demands. He sounded open to suggestion, which was good because she had a suggestion.
“Everything?” he repeated. “As in…?”
“Every. Thing.” She stared at him across the desk and this time it was her turn not to blink. “I give you forever, the least you can give me is everything.”
“I believe I know what you’re asking, and you should know that’s problematic where I’m concerned.”
“Because you’re a Catholic priest, and you’re older than I am?”
“That would be two of the three reasons.”
“What’s the third?”
“I will tell you the third reason at the same time I tell you the second reason I’m offering to help you.”
“Jesus H. Christ, so many questions. Do I need to write this shit down?”
Søren reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his battered leather-bound Bible, the one that had his real name in it.
He flipped through the pages and glanced at the scraps of paper inside. They all appeared to have writing on them but not in English. Finally he flipped to the very back, ripped out a blank end page and slid it across the table to her. From inside his coat he produced a pen, a heavy black one.
Eleanor eyed the pen and paper. She looked at Søren.
“I will answer your questions,” he said. “Eventually. In the meantime I wouldn’t want either of us to forget any of them.”
On the end page she wrote What’s the third reason that being with me is problemmatic? and What’s the second reason you’re helping me? She furrowed her brow as she studied the paper.
“Something wrong?” Søren asked.
“I think I misspelled problematic.” She held up the note and Søren narrowed his eyes at it.
“Can I answer your two objections?” she asked, rewriting the word problematic with only one ‘m’ this time. “I don’t care if you’re a Catholic priest. Forcing priests to be celibate is the stupidest rule ever. Why would God invent sex and then tell people not to have it? And second, so what? You’re older than I am. I’ll be sixteen in a couple days.”
“I can’t believe I’m even discussing this with you, Eleanor,” Søren said.
She smiled at him.
Søren turned his head and stared at nothing for a moment. He smiled a little and turned back to her.
“Very well then.”
“Very well what?”
He held out his hand waiting for her to shake it.
She stared at his hand, his perfect hand.
“You’re kidding, right?” she asked.
“I want you to obey me forever. It is a high price, and I realize that. If we have to negotiate then we have to negotiate. I accept your terms. Can you accept mine?”
Eleanor slowly raised her hand off the desk and put her fingers into his.
“Okay,” she said. “You got me. I’m yours.”
He wrapped his much larger hand around hers. She expected his hand to be cold for some reason. He had such cold eyes, such an icy demeanor … But no, his skin was warm, and she couldn’t help but imagine him touching her in far more intimate places than her hand.
“Forever,” she said.
“Everything,” he said.
Photo credit: Chris Sloan
Anxious to get your hands on The Saint? Look for it digitally and in print on May 27. For more steamy stories that push the boundaries, visit our Everything Erotica page.