Friday, August 26, 2016

Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance by: Pauline West w/ Interview

Title: Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance
Author: Pauline West
Series: Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance (Book 1)
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: June 23 2016
Edition/Formats: eBook

A bold and independent free spirit from the foster system of small town South Carolina, Lily is a survivor with skeletons in her closet. She knows what she wants and how to get it. And a spoiled rich playboy is not part of her plan- but Ry is irresistible.
The bad boy heir to the Calhoun fortune, Ry is a notorious Lowcountry playboy who's never met a challenge like gorgeous Lily Inoue.
How can someone so wrong feel exactly right?

I fitted my leg around Ry’s so that there was nothing between us but my panties and his linen pants, and he kissed me so savagely it sucked the air from my chest. 
Oh, I wanted him deep inside me. 
“I want to get on my knees for you,” Ry said, and everything in me tightened at the cultured, raspy purr of his voice.
“I think I’d like to see you on your knees,” I said, my voice raw and strange. 
Ry, paused, smiling, his eyes slitted with lust.  He kissed me differently then, with slow, lush slides of his tongue that made me ache to feel his mouth between my legs.    
His fingers curved roughly down around the front of my thigh, pushing the silky fabric of my dress up as he hunted towards my panties, lingering at the hem teasingly.  His eyes danced, watching mine, as I moaned.  My hips curled towards his and I felt the tips of his fingers slip beneath my panties.
I was the wettest I’d been in all my life, as if the whole center of me had melted into hot, silky lava.  I cried out, pressing into his touch, plunging Ry’s fingers deep inside me, and he began to stroke with searing accuracy, the expression on his face both hot and tender. 
“Ohhh,” I said, hanging from his sweet mouth.  I stared up at the stars, crying out as their light slurred down over us. 
I felt a fullness in me beginning to build, felt myself dizzily falling back, but Ry caught me in his other arm, propping me there against the wall as he drove his fingers into me again and again, rhythmic, relentless.  His knuckles bit perfectly into my clit as he worked the tiny apple of sensitive flesh inside me.  I almost screamed, feeling my orgasm flood forwards.
“You want to come for me?” Ry murmured, pressing his face into my hair possessively.  I bit his shoulder, trying to stifle my cries.  This sweet, layered agony-
“I want to come for you,” I gasped, “Please, please.”
“Come for me, Lily,” Ry said, pressing himself close as his fingers continued to work inside me, and I let the sensation crash through the gates of me, washing through again and again as I fell bonelessly against him, jerking a little with the aftershocks.
Ry smiled wolfishly, his eyes pale in the moonlight, their contrast delicious beneath his dark tan, his dark eyebrows.  I thrilled again at how little there was between us, even as it terrified me how helplessly I’d fallen for him.  I threw my arms around Ry’s neck, burying my face in his soft hair, locking my legs around his waist. 
“You could make me do anything you want,” I said, softly. 
He pinned me back against the wall again, his eyes shining.  The fullness of his cock against me sent another shockwave through my body, and I leaned back, shivering with his touch, looking up at him. 
“I’m drunk with you,” I whispered. 
Ry began to grind into me, moaning in a low, strangled voice that made all the hair on my body lift with arousal.  We kissed again so hungrily I thought we’d slide down and fuck there on the rough cobble stones.
But he put me down gently and led me by the hand through the gate.  I followed, tugging my dress down.  We were laughing soundlessly again, still a little breathless, and when we stopped at the door, Ry held his hand to his face and closed his eyes, breathing in the smell of me on his hand.   
His eyes rolled slightly with pleasure, and then he bumped open the door with his hip, tugging me inside.
The silence of the house instantly folded around us.  It felt different to kiss him there, in that unfamiliar dark.  Ry lifted me off my feet against him and then sat me onto the kitchen counter, burying his face against my breasts.  He squeezed my breasts savagely, until they began to feel heavy and swollen.  Then he bit and sucked at my nipples through the wet silk of my dress. 
The hot darts of pain made me hiss with lust.
“I need to make you come again, Lily,” he said, his hands forcing insistently between my thighs.
“I can’t, I can’t so soon,” I said, trying to close my legs, but he forced them apart with a strength that just rode the edge of violence.  Ry sank his face into me hungrily, taking my hips firmly into his hands, the pressure from his fingers spreading my flesh so that the center of me was all the more bared to him as he opened his mouth against me. 
I gasped, so slippery wet that I was soaked all down my thighs, my body begging to sheath him even as it couldn’t take any more arousal.  My senses were so exquisitely tortured that I was afraid I’d pee on his lovely, hard-sculptured face. 
But Ry’s tongue began to work in expert, slow circles against my clit.  One of his hands found its way warmly between my thighs, drawing me tight, stretching me raw.  I bucked against his face, my hands clawing at the counter. 
“Please please no,” I said, “I can’t, I can’t take this-”
Ry held me steady, the hot, hard velvet of his tongue relentless against my swollen achy flesh, his eyes locking on mine greedily.  My nerves sizzled raw.  I felt microscopic shooting stars race up the insides of my thighs as he stroked at me continually, restlessly, brinking me to orgasm, letting me slide back down again.  I was panting with lust, both our bodies misted wet with sweat.  I could see droplets of it on my bared thighs, on the backs of his forearms, his neck. 
Ry’s eyes glinted mischievously; he knew exactly what he was doing to me. 
That turned me on all the more, even as it made me wildly jealous to know all the women he must have perfected his skills on.  Every dial on my body was cranked farther than I’d ever dreamed I could go.  The bliss of it was tortuous, unending.  With every raw swirl of my nerves, I felt myself sucked all the deeper into his orbit, losing any control I’d ever imagined I’d had.
And then finally, Ry Calhoun decided to let me come.  He sucked me up to the precipice of orgasm again, but this time dropped me over the edge with a hard lick.  He stuck his tongue inside me as I came in a long, rolling orgasm around him.
“Oh god, oh god-”  My cries were animal now, my body so wet that I slid on the counter.  Ry dug further into me, his fingers opening me deeply.  The effect was shattering.  I lost my mind, bucking wildly, and almost blacked out with pleasure.  He lifted my legs up onto the counter so I was securely supported as I pulsed hard and then began to sob, utterly released. 
Ry moved his face back and forth as light as a butterfly on my thighs, tracing up my electrically lit body with his mouth, pausing gently at my tortured breasts, and then again at my lips. 
As I curled inwards, he leaned over me, kissing me sweetly while I sobbed with relief, the gentleness of his kisses smoothing my ragged sense while his hands continued to stroke me lightly.  After a moment, he pulled back, biting his lips, as if tasting me again.  I looked up at him, too limp to move or speak.  
“Now,” he said, “I’m going to fuck you to death.”
I couldn’t even speak English anymore. 
I shook my head, trying to move away from him and his vampiric ecstasy.  But even as I was overcome, I still felt a clawing, insatiable need for his body.  Ry was like some unnameable drug; I was hopelessly addicted. 
He began to unbutton his shirt, revealing the tight cut of his abdominals and upper arms.  The immediate bolt of lust I felt for his touch drove home how much he already owned me.  Ry tossed his shirt to one side, pulling me by one leg open to him again, and undid his pants. 
His cock was enormous.
“I’m going to make you come so hard you can’t walk,” Ry said, darkly, pulling me into him like a slack doll.  “You’ll have to stay here with me.  Then I’m gonna nail you all morning...”  His mouth on mine was like hot stone, and I couldn’t resist kissing him back, feeling myself heat up for him all over again as he slid me down to his cock.  He ran his thumb inside me again, drawing my skin taut so savagely that I cried out and fell against him, raw and exquisitely stretched.
I throbbed with grinding lust, pulling myself upright again. 
“Come fuck me.”
Ry drove himself inside me with a force that made me see stars, fitting his mouth over mine in one of his hungry, soul-sucking kisses, and I wanted all of it; I wanted him to batter me loose, fuck me to death, I didn’t care. 
It felt so good that I couldn’t feel anything of myself anymore except a sheer, shooting, bodiless pleasure. 
Our bodies were both drenched now, and it felt so good to clutch his hard, naked skin, to see the flash of his tattoo under my hand as I rode his thick cock to Kingdom Come.  I let my head fall back, wanging it hard on the cupboards, but it didn’t matter.  Nothing mattered except-
I heard someone clear his throat in the doorway.
My eyes snapped open.
            Silhouetted in the dim light from the street, an old man stood in the kitchen doorway.  He was coolly drinking a cup of tea, his robe loosely belted so I could see the crisp white hair on his chest; his face was craggy and seamed from a lifetime of too much sun and rich food. 
Even though his thick white hair was crazed on one side, as if he’d been unable to sleep and now was wandering aimlessly around the mansion, I recognized his face from the oil portrait I’d seen the day before.
Mr. Calhoun.
He was watching us as if we were stray dogs he’d caught fucking in his house for the thirtieth time.  “Christ, another one?” Mr. Calhoun said, finally.  He went back out into the hallway. 
            Another one.
            What did I expect? 
But my heart sank through the floor and dissolved.  I was humiliated.
I’d been more emotionally exposed than I’d ever felt in my life- and just as suddenly, all the new flowerings in me folded up and died off. 
I shoved Ry away, trying to cover myself with the damp ruins of my dress.  But Ry had already half-turned, zipping up his pants hastily in a way that filled me with disgust. 
“Dad-!” Ry said, rushing after him.  Then, torn, he whirled in the doorway, heading back towards me.  “Lily, wait here.  Dad!”
But I was already out the door.
Ry chased me outside.  “Please, please, you don’t understand.  He didn’t mean it like it sounded-”
            I was crying, and furious with myself for crying.  “I do, I understand you perfectly.  You just want-you just wanted to get laid.”
            Ry tried to kiss me, to take me into his arms.  I wouldn’t let him. 
“Baby, don’t you remember any of the things we’ve said?  How I’ve made you feel?” Ry said.  “I know you feel this, too, I know you do, I could feel it.  Everything in you answers everything in me, Lily.  You keep forgetting all of that whenever something-”
            “Bullshit!  I can’t believe anything you say!  I can’t believe any of this; I don’t know who the fuck you are- why are you being so fucking nice to me, anyway?  I don’t like people doing things for me, remember?  You know why?  Because I can’t fucking trust anybody!  I don’t trust you, I can’t, I won’t!” 
Somehow, I was screaming.
            “Lily, enough!”  His voice cracked my name like a pistol shot.  I felt my body respond to the command in his voice, instantly hating myself for it.
            “Don’t.  Just don’t.  All right?” I said.
            “At least let me walk you to your-”
“Don’t fucking touch me.  I don’t want you to follow me, I don’t want you to touch me.  Leave me alone!” 
I ran into the dark. 
I drove home with all my windows down, needing air in my face. 
Cold, clean air.  Hungry black air.  Anything to wash away the electricity, the unrelenting connection that still remained like an unbroken thread between me and Ry Calhoun.  No matter how far away I was from him.

I’m tickled to be here- thank you so much for having me :)

Writing schedule:

I’m a cubicle bunny from 9 to 5, so I write from 5 to 8:45 am every morning and until 2pm on weekends.  Its easier to roll out of bed & start if you do it every day.  It becomes a habit, like closing your eyes to savor that first sip of hot coffee. 

“Habits at first are cobwebs, then cables”~ Spanish proverb.

Sometimes I’ll write during lunch too, but more often I just read instead.  Recently I picked up Exit to Eden by Anne Rice… I read that thing in a white heat.  She’s amazing.

What inspired you to write this story and how long did the process, from first thoughts to final polished copy, take you?

I’d been working on a Southern Gothic, Evening’s Land, and kept finding myself writing these really intense, steamy scenes.  So I ended up wandering off to do a little ‘research’ into what’s new in the romance genre (it turns out you actually can read Story of O and Anais Nin only so many times) and happened on Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series. 
Day’s erotic scenes are AMAZING.  I mean, you can’t read them on an airplane because you turn bright red and steam up all the air.  After reading Crossfire, I couldn’t resist trying to write a no-holds barred romance series of my own. 
To be honest, Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance wrote itself.  You meet extraordinary people in Charleston every day, and the city is as romantic and sultry as it gets.  Book One took me about two months from start to finish.  It took longer to get the nerve up to publish it! 

Without giving too much away, could you tell us about your favorite part of the book?

Oh, man.  The first time Lily really lets herself go with Ry, on his father’s kitchen counter... 
Readers have told me it reminded them of what it was like when they fell in love with their forever sweetheart, how powerful that first experience together was.  Also, its scorching hot.  It was crazy fun to write!

Is your hero based upon anyone you have met and known?  Can you briefly introduce him to the readers and tell us a little about him?  What traits do you like best and least about him?

Ry’s personality is based partly on my fiance, especially the goofy/sweet aspects of his personality.  My guy didn’t have the wacky childhood bed that I describe for Ry- I have no idea where that came from, I was as surprised as anybody when I wrote that- but he does share the same sense of humor.
For Ry’s looks, I used Ian Somerhalder from the Vampire Diaries.  Somerhalder has that whole cut, smug-sexy thing going on that I imagined for Ry.  You resist him at first, because he’s so damn cocky... but he’s also just meltingly sexy. 

“Then I met Ry Calhoun, and all my clothes flew off…” ~ Lily Inoue, Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance, Book 2

When Lily meets Ry, she’s torn because Ry stands for everything she’s never been able to have, and she assumes he must be the spoiled playboy everyone says he is.  Lily hates herself for being so drawn to him.  She figures she’ll just be another plaything; that even being drawn to Ry in the first place must indicate some kind of weakness in her.
But Ry has depths he doesn’t show most people.  He’s actually humble, and does so much behind the scenes to help other people however he can.  I love what a strong, brave human being he is, and I’m so proud of both his and Lily’s actions later in the series.  They grow so much together, and become these amazing people.  And of course, they have smoking hot chemistry.  They can’t keep their hands off each other.
One of the things I don’t like in Ry is that he’s such a good guy that Lily can seem like a bitch in comparison to him.  Even though she’s this gorgeous, fragile-looking beauty, Lily is fiercely independent, and a little selfish.  She kind of has this Scarlett O’Hara thing going on :)

Research Process:

I’m a total magpie, I’m always gathering up bits for stories.  I take notes on my phone- phrases I like, cool street names, random thoughts, sensory experiences- and then email them to myself. 
Sometimes I can put them into a story right away, but I’ll also hoard them in separate docs for Names, Dialogue, Sensory Experiences, etc, and pull from them later.  I’m constantly drawing from my life for my work, and I think both are richer for it.
I also read voraciously, always with a pen in hand.  (Usually a green one from the art supply store down the street or a Pilot V-5.)  I read everything: genre lit, poetry, natural history, cereal boxes, The New Yorker, The New York Book Review, beer labels, the Sunday papers.  

Strangest thing I’ve ever done in the name of research:

I’m pretty open to experiences, so people might categorize a lot of my life as strange!
I homeschooled myself through high school to see if I could; I lived in my Jeep out in the woods one summer, just to sort of drop out and experience being alive really deeply, out there in the quiet; I’ve sucked out pigeon brains in Vietnam and eaten the whole head of a pig, including the eyes and upper palate (hey, you asked); I worked as a phone sex operator girl to better understand what makes desire tick; I sold cable door to door to meet the people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet.  Going door to door you meet everybody under the sun.  You also realize pretty quickly that we’re all just one big kooky family.  It was absolutely awesome.  We actually made great money doing that, and then took a vacation couch surfing through Moldova and Ukraine.   One couple we met ended up taking us exploring into the limestone tunnels under Odessa: I mean we were stepping over broken oil lamps and reading hundred year old poetry on the walls.  We made dinners for so many new friends in their kitchens after shopping together in the outdoor markets… 
Experience itself is the best research.  I’ll try anything twice, and the good stuff way more often than that.  Basically, writing is just an excuse to have more fun.

Reading, favorite authors & genres:

I love to read, and make time to read every day.  If I’m really busy, it’ll be some poetry, like anything by Ocean Vuong or Jack Gilbert; I also love short stories.  Hugh Howey’s Beacon 23 and These Heroic, Happy Dead by Luke Mogelson are fantastic.  Anne Rice, Sylvia Day, Denis Johnson, Thomas Pynchon and James Lee Burke are major favorites as far as full length fiction goes.  Generally I like stuff that’s stylized, a bit flashy and dark. 

How do you relax:

We throw a fair bit of boozey dinner parties!  I’m always taking long, ambling walks downtown, and exploring the nature preserves outside Charleston.  There’s so much history, so much lushness and decay here, I can’t ever get enough of it.  Its just a dreamy place to live.  I also love running and hitting the gym with friends: I turn into a neurotic mess if I don’t exercise.  My natural state is just a wee bit tightly wound, as you might guess from my main characters!
But my very favorite way to relax is on the porch with my feet up and a book in hand. I love recommendations, so find me on GoodReads and let me know who you think I should check out!   

The next six months:

I’ll be finishing Books 3 and 4 for the Candlemoth series and getting those rolled out as quickly as I can for readers, because I’ve got everyone perched on the edge of a helluva cliff right now. 
We’re also planning to do some traveling this winter, maybe to Japan.  I’ll write about that extensively and share the experience on my blog.  You can follow me at  I also post stories there for free too sometimes, so make sure to stay tuned.

Thanks again for having me, and very much for reading.  I hope you’re enjoying Ry & Lily’s love story as much as I am~ I’ll have more for you soon!

Pauline West is a bookworm, trail runner and bourbon lover. Her hobbies include mild hypochondria and ill-advised matchmaking.

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