Follow Them Into Darkness: Favorite Paragraphs with Santino Hassell, J.C. Lillis, J.R. Gray, Kris Ripper and Roan Parrish

Anthologies can be such fun to read, those little snippets of goodness you can finish in one sitting particularly satisfying. Today we're taking a look at Follow Me Into Darkness: Five Tales of Carnivale Romance, which has stories from Santino Hassell, J.C. Lillis, J.R. Gray, Kris Ripper and Roan Parrish. To whet your appetite for this collection, which our reviewer promised would "keep you on the edge of your seat," we asked each author to share their favorite paragraph. They were nice enough to oblige!

"Hurricane" by Santino Hassell

A sound escaped me—soft, vulnerable, and so damn desperate—and Kee took it as an invitation. He kissed me harder, tasting of alcohol, and whatever had possessed me to follow him into this cemetery ordered me to slant my mouth and let him in. Another swipe of his tongue was all it took for my lust to jumpstart after lying dormant for so long. He likely hadn't expected the ferocity of my response, but all of a sudden I couldn't get enough of his taste and smell and touch. All of a sudden I didn't care about risks and danger.

"If We Be Friends" by J.C. Lillis

Winter moonlight sifts through tall leaded windows on either side of the arras. In the soft glow I sneak a look at Farley, with whom I have shared only two short scenes thus far. He wears a holey black t-shirt that says IT’S RAINING ME (his Whizzer catchphrase), plus intolerable pants patterned with purple-green-yellow diamonds. He’s grown into his mouth but not by much, and now he faintly resembles Mick Jagger, if Mick were seventeen and a Weasley.

"Masked" by J.R. Gray

Heath groaned and turned in on himself. He should have known it was too good to be true. It always was with Javier. He’d always love him from a distance, and it would never be returned. Before he could stop himself, he cupped Javier’s cheeks and pressed their mouths together. One last taste to hold him for eternity.

"The Queen’s Reflection" by Kris Ripper

Poe was firm and his skin flared wherever the fire hit. Their bodies were beautiful and seemed such natural extensions of their voices, their minds, the cadences of their speech. Between them I was a shadow of a memory of something that had never existed; I felt ugly and ill-fitting, but I undressed anyway, some obscure notion of being a gift making me brave, or perhaps it was reckless.

"Touched" by Roan Parrish

I had been with any number of men, and no few score of women. There had been men whose bodies drove me to fevered distraction. Men with faces like angels, or devils. Men with neither, but some raw sexual power that spoke louder than beauty. There were my dear friends whose bodies I knew as well as my own, and strangers who would couple in the bushes around Jackson Square for a drink or to pass the time. There had been all of them and everything in between. And none of them had affected me this way. None of them had filled me with a desire sharper than the bite of wormwood and an impulse sweeter than the burst of sugar. I wanted to be on Claude as the Spanish moss draped the branches of the live oaks lining the avenues, burrow inside of him like their roots bit down into the earth and wrenched the streets apart. And then he began to play again and it flayed me. Broke something open inside of me that had been clenched tight since Aunt Penny died.

Follow Me Into Darkness will be available this week and you can get your copy here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks. For more love stories, visit our Everything Romance page!