Q) Is your book part of a series? If so, can you tell us about it?
Oh, yes. Piper’s Price is the first book of Consequences, Live—and I’ve already submitted its follow up, Savannah’s Chance to Evernight Publishing. The Consequences books take place in a future, repressive America where misbehaving “transitional” adults (those between the ages of 18 and 22) are punished for minor crimes on live television. It’s total BDSM, but it’s romance as well. And it’s got a big heart, or I wouldn’t have done it.
Q) How do you select the names of your characters?
The main characters of Piper’s Price, Robbie McNeal and Madison Piper, were names I fretted over a long time. The first and last names of both characters reflect positive and negative aspects of their personalities, and also plot devices (much as J.K. Rowling often did in the Potter books). So, yeah, it’s corny—but Robbie’s last name, as a submissive, could be read “Mc-Kneel.” I’ll leave the rest of that to the reader. Meanwhile, for minor characters, I go to my old school yearbooks when I’m stuck and thumb through names, pairing the first name of one kid with the last name of another …
Q) What was the hardest (or easiest) scene to write?
The easiest scenes in Piper’s Price were all toward the end, when I knew exactly where all of it was going and could hurry on after all the trauma to the HEA. So satisfying, so much fun. Earlier on, there’s a scene where Robbie learns he’s been betrayed by a friend that was very difficult to write, but it was also essential to the plot.
Q) Do you have a favorite line in this book?
Nurse Reyes-Garcia, (a.k.a. Robbie’s “Matron”) gets ALL of the best lines in Piper’s Price. Here, she consoles Robbie that he is, in fact, a good person by saying,
“Whatever else you may be, you remain an honest young cock hooligan. Nothing is more important than that.”
Q) What type of research did you do for your book?
You know, one of the benefits of writing speculative fiction is that you can make so much stuff up: laws, new technologies, cultural norms that don’t exist today. Having said that, I wasn’t content to rely on my reading experience when it came to writing BDSM for the first time, so I did the only thing that made sense—and interviewed a professional dominatrix. Yep. I really did.
Q) What do you think is your strongest asset as a writer? …what is your weakest factor as a writer?
Hopefully, my strongest asset as a writer is sticking to the story and not getting preachy or imposing my worldview on readers. If I label a book as a given genre, I try to deliver on that. My constant struggle is one we all share, I think: getting started again after the latest project is done. Fishing for the new idea and trying to make it real in my mind. I’m generally dozens of pages into a project before I really know I’ll be able to make it fly.
Q) Do you have a favorite book you’ve written?
Under my “other” name, I write horror and sci fi for Evernight Teen and The NoSleep Podcast. ET published my personal favorite, The Salvation State, and NoSleep narrator extraordinaire Jessica McEvoy read it as an audiobook for Audible.
Q) Do you write in a linear fashion or do you jump from scene to scene and then go back and “fill in the blanks”?
I jump all over the place! The best ideas come when I write, not when I think. I’m constantly distracted just by the process and tend to bounce back and forth, filling in the middle to make it all come together after the fact.
Q) Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I want to have my cake and eat it too. Savannah’s Chance will stand on its own, even in the same story universe, but there are also connections that readers of Piper’s Price will recognize. They’re both independent stories in the Consequences, Live universe, yet I hope they fit together well. Also, I sneaked in a couple Easter eggs into Piper’s Price that are clear references to my other books.
Q) What are your upcoming projects?
Hopefully we’ll see Savannah’s Chance soon—and I just submitted another story that I hope makes it into the upcoming Billion Dollar Love anthology. Fingers crossed!
To the world, Robbie McNeal is a young man to be envied. A senator’s son, raised in wealth and privilege, he’s got everything—but all he really wants is the courage to ask out the girl in his government class. He has reached the age of transition, the final four years before all of society’s secrets are unveiled with the rights of full citizenship. He’s new to college, new to adulthood, and totally unprepared for the penalty he must pay when he makes one very bad decision. Madison Piper, a fellow freshman and art class model—and the subject of Robbie’s unshakable crush—will be instrumental in his discipline.
The punishment will be televised. The show, born from a law written by Robbie’s own father, is in its second year. The audience needs something new.
And the common people can’t wait to see Robbie pay the piper.
“Professor,” Nurse Reyes-Garcia said, “you may proceed.”
Professor Mack stepped onto the platform with Robbie, started unsnapping his shoulder buttons as she addressed the audience. “Well, you’ve all had just an hour of basic tutoring on outlining and black and white shading,” she said. “Time to see who’s been harboring a hidden talent all their lives.”
General chuckling. Robbie’s shirt dropped to his feet. He looked over his chest, down the length of his arms. He couldn’t help but feel even more awkward and exposed with practically all of his body hair shaven off. His skin had a sheen to it still, slightly ruddy. He directed his gaze down, but Professor Mack was having none of that.
“Head straight,” she said to him.
Robbie obeyed, taking in his audience all at once. They were delighted. Transfixed. They chattered together, their voices low—but it was a small room, and Robbie missed none of it.
“Poor thing. He’s blushing all over.”
“Pretty good pecs for a college boy. Cute nipples, too.”
“Can’t wait to have my hands on him, do a little performance art.”
Hands? Robbie thought. No one said anything about hands.
And that had come from old Mrs. Merriweather, the freakin’ organ player at church.
“Okay, okay,” Professor Mack cut in, her right hand exploring his back, the curvature of his spine. “Our time is limited, so let’s get down to it. We’ll rotate the platform ninety degrees every fifteen minutes. You’ll notice your sketch paper is quartered for you to make an attempt from four different angles. Just an outline of his form to begin with, down to the core. Fill in once you’ve got it completely defined. After that’s done, raise your hand and I’ll see what you’ve got.”
Then her hand went to the lever at the side of the X-frame and shifted it. Robbie’s arms and legs spread, the Vitruvian Punk in Position Number Two. The strips of cloth covering his penis, testicles, and the center of his buttocks fluttered but remained in place.
“When one of us has an acceptable start and is ready to move on,” Professor Mack continued, “then I’ll show you what Robbie’s got. Don’t worry—I’ll give everyone a heads-up before I denude him completely—just in case any of you have second thoughts. If all goes well, he’ll be presented for full rendering, by … three o’clock or so.”
His cock was starting to feel restless.
No! God, no—please.
If he got hard now, his wang would carry that cloth straight up and off to the side, like attempting to raise a flag and failing. He tried to make his mind wander, or to focus on something else, on anything but the way Professor Mack and Mrs. Fenwick and Mrs. Merriweather were staring at him in his public, televised degradation.
The counter on the wall read six million, four hundred twenty-two thousand, three hundred fifty-two—ticking ever upwards by scores of viewers at a time.
But then the women started drawing, and the impending threat of an involuntary erection subsided as the room fell quiet. The soft sound of pencils on paper actually calmed him, and after a minute or two, soothed him. The delighted, devilish stares that had greeted him were quickly replaced by clinical study, actual effort—which Robbie understood. Whether it was bogus or not, the women started behaving like they had a job that needed doing. And that wasn’t so bad, was it?
No, Robbie thought. Not so bad.
From where he was mounted, he had a clear look at the time. Whatever else was going to happen to him, it would be over in less than three hours—and the first day of his penance would be in the books, one-third of his debt to society paid.
At two-fifteen, the platform rotated. A couple of the women got up to stretch for a minute before resuming their places and starting the second quarter of their sketch page.
At two-thirty, it rotated again. A couple of complaints about not having enough time, minor grumblings.
At two-forty, while the platform was centered right in front of her, Mrs. Fenwick raised her hand.
Robbie had a fleeting vision—a memory—of her as Professor Mack went to her to observe the work she had done so far. Robbie recalled apologizing to her the morning after a sleepover he’d had at her house, celebrating her son’s birthday—Ashton, one of Robbie’s longest-standing childhood friends. Robbie had said he was sorry for acting like an idiot and being loud the night before. Robbie had no trouble remembering that apology, although he couldn’t remember with any specificity what he’d actually done to inspire it.
She’d been so understanding, so kind, and so dismissive of the whole thing. “Just boys being boys,” she’d said, ruffling his hair.
Professor Mack nodded her approval at Mrs. Fenwick’s handiwork, and Mrs. Fenwick beamed with pride.
“Oh, good,” she said. “Finish undressing him, then, please.”
Professor Mack turned from her and approached Robbie, a smirk curling the corner of her lips. “Deep breath,” she said. “It’ll be all right.”
Robbie could only stand there, fixed in place, saying nothing as she ran her finger down the side of his ribcage to the string that supported the last of his modesty. And to his horror, he found that his “modesty” was now “supporting” the cloth, rising up against his will before Professor Mack’s finger reached the knot.
“Last chance,” she said—to the assemblage of sketchers, not to him. “Time for the big reveal.”
Beneath the cloth, Robbie’s nuts were fully visible. He could feel the air conditioning down there. His sack was a tight plum with the texture of a basketball, swelling with expectation. He regarded his audience, his eyes darting from one face to another, seeking solace, wondering if any would leave.
None of them did. They leaned forward. Their eyes were wide—all except the senator’s, who narrowed hers. Mrs. Merriweather batted her lashes at him. But of all of them, it was hardest for him to accept having this done to him in the presence of Mrs. Fenwick, the one who had just ordered his final stripping.
Go! he wanted to shout. Get out of here! Please!
But he kept quiet, even when the knot came undone between Professor Mack’s thumb and forefinger and the cloth fell away. There he was, the Vitruvian Punk, not just on camera but before a live civilian audience, many of them women he had known his whole life, sporting a boner the size of Florida at low tide. Professor Mack held the cloth up to his face, making sure he got a good look at what he wasn’t wearing anymore. He moaned.
Moaning was okay. He was allowed inarticulate exclamations. He wouldn’t have to pay for them later, so long as he didn’t overdo it. He moaned again.
“Oh, boy,” Professor Mack said, studying his erection. “Can’t have that, can we? This is ‘The Human Form,’ not porn.” Then, to the crowd, “A little help?”
What? Robbie though, aghast. What kind of “help” are you talking about?
He locked eyes with Nurse Reyes-Garcia. Please, Matron, he wanted to plead with her. Couldn’t you come over here and just flick it, or something?
She stared back at him, offering nothing.
“Come on,” Professor Mack cajoled. “We all knew this might happen. We talked about it.”
Mrs. Fenwick regrettably sighed. “Harvey would kill me,” she said. “Sorry. Was all I could do to talk him into letting me be here.”
“He definitely looks like he needs it,” said Mrs. Crop, the reporter, “but I just report the news. I’m not supposed to be the news.”
“Too awkward,” said one, a friend of his mother’s.
“It would feel wrong,” said another, a former babysitter. “That would be crossing the line, I think.”
Go down, Robbie silently commanded his penis. You’ve got to go down. You know what’s coming.
His penis, however, was perfectly happy to remain at attention. It tightened under their scrutiny. It swelled. Heat spread through his core like thick, warm milk spilled slowly.
“I’ll do it,” crooned Mrs. Merriweather, rising from her chair. “Poor boy’s suffering, can’t you see? If none of you younger lot will step forward…”
None of them did, so she came to him.
Robbie stared off to the side, disbelieving, as she knelt in front of him and took him in hand. She had painted nails, Mrs. Merriweather did, but she was careful with them. She held his cock first to one side, then the other. She gave it a preliminary pump or two, ran her hand under his balls.
I’m not going to last long, Robbie thought, heart thudding. God, why? Was I really bad enough to deserve this?
Her hand was so warm, so soft.
“How lovely,” she said, kissing the tip, forcing a gasp. “May I suckle him?”
Professor Mack seemed unsure, looking from one officer to the other.
Nurse Reyes-Garcia nodded—but it was the younger officer, Kersey, who said, “If you’re willing to do that in front of eight million viewers, feel free.”
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