Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire



Blurb

A darker and more deeply etched Big Little Lies

The Girl on the Train meets Gone Girl in this immensely erotic, deliciously dark, and psychologically twisted new novel

Whether by free will or fate, Luna’s encounter with Nico provokes a storm that shatters her perceptions of identity, duty, morality, and self-worth. The storm didn’t blow in from the outside. She was the storm. Its turbulence within her, forcing her to confront the darkness, uncovers her secrets and her pain.

Book Description 

Luna Saint Claire has a loving husband and an enviable career as a Hollywood costume designer. Still, something is gnawing at her. Bored with her conventional and circumscribed existence, she feels herself becoming invisible. When she meets Nico Romero, a charismatic yoga guru, his attentions awaken her passions and desires. Dangerous, but not in a way that scares her, he makes her feel as if anything is possible. Infatuated, she becomes entangled in Nico’s life as he uses his mesmerizing sexuality to manipulate everyone around him in his pursuit of women, wealth, and celebrity.
Immensely erotic and psychologically captivating, The Sleeping Serpent is the compelling story of a woman’s obsession with a spellbinding guru and the struggle to reclaim her life. At its heart, it is a painfully beautiful exposition of unconditional love that makes us question what we truly want.
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Luna Saint Claire is a costume designer and author residing in Los Angeles with her husband, a philosophy professor. She loves blues rock and Indie music, often setting her Pandora station to Damien Rice. Her personal style can best be described as eclectic bohemian. Though she now enjoys running and yoga, she spent years of her youth in the ballet studio. Her part Native American heritage informs her work as a designer and influences her storytelling.
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Excerpt:

Chapter 25: Nico & Élodie — The Persian Gulf

         Nico sat pensively staring at the huge full moon growing larger as it sank closer to the horizon. As she watched him, a slight shudder ran up her spine. Nico must have sensed it, because he put his arm around her and pulled her close to him. Resting her head on his shoulder, she sighed as they gazed out over the Persian Gulf.
   As the moon set and darkness overtook them, Nico began idly coiling a tendril of her hair around his finger. In anticipation, Élodie involuntarily trembled under his touch. Nuzzling his face into her neck, Nico moved against her, closing the space between them. Lifting her chin, he pressed his lips to hers in a warm, soft, lingering kiss. Tentatively, he nibbled provocatively at her lips, gently teasing out kisses. Cupping her face with his hands, he slowly pulled on her lower lip, coaxing her mouth open. Then, running the tip of his tongue lightly over her lips, he pulled her closer to his chest, entwining his fingers into her hair. Melting into him while his tongue swept slowly over the inside of her lower lip, Élodie’s breath quickened, as she became awash in sensation. Slipping his tongue into her mouth, he swiveled it around hers in a devilish dance with deeper and harder strokes until she was breathless. She had never been kissed that passionately before, sending tremors throughout her body. Hungrily, he devoured her mouth, then kissed her jaw, running his teeth along it as he moved his lips down her neck, his tongue flicking the sensitive hollow in her clavicle. Purring, he murmured, "So beautiful."
   Élodie gasped, letting out a little cry, somewhere between pain and ecstasy. Nico trailed his hands down over her breasts. Her hard nipples grew longer as they strained under the tissue-thin fabric. Panting, her full breasts heaved over the décolletage of the lace dress as he kissed a trail down to the space between them. Enraptured, Élodie sighed and breathed his name, "Nico..."
   He tore his mouth from hers and Élodie cried out in near agony.
   "Come with me." Nico’s eyes locked with hers.
   She had no ability or desire to refuse his command. Her body craved his, and even her soul was compelled. Picking up her sandals by the ankle strap, she held Nico’s hand as they moved quickly back to the hotel and into the elevator.
   Nico was in the Pearl Room, with a terrace overlooking the tropical gardens, swimming pools, and the beach where they had just been sitting. He turned on the lamp at the writing desk and opened the sliding door to the terrace, allowing the warm night air in.
   "Élodie," he exhaled her name with a long sigh. "Even your name intoxicates me. Come here. The smell of you makes me drunk with desire."
   Élodie walked over to him, and sliding his arm around her waist, he pressed her body to his and kissed her deeply. His hands swept through her hair, then down her back as he pushed his hips into her. Finding the zipper on the back of her dress, he tugged it down with one hand while his free hand held her close. Maneuvering the dress off her shoulders, Élodie encircled his neck with her arms and helped by wriggling her hips, then stepped out of the dress. Standing in her bare feet she was just the right height, and Nico’s mouth fell onto her neck, kissing down to the top of her black lace demi-cup bra as he cupped her buttocks.
   His hands covered her masterfully. There wasn’t a part of her he didn’t touch. Nuzzling his nose to her breast, he inhaled her, then gently lifted one breast from inside the cup of her bra. "Your skin smells sweet, like a flower. This tit is a precious jewel."
   He took her nipple into his mouth and sucked it until it grew long and hard. Looking up at her, he said sweetly, "You are perfect, Élodie."
   Gazing into his eyes, Élodie was captivated by the glinting yellow flecks. Unable to break his gaze, she tentatively reached up to sweep the lock of hair from his eyes, then slowly unbuttoned his white shirt. His sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, a stainless steel Breitling Navitimer chronograph on one wrist and braided leather and beaded bracelets covering the other. Shrugging the shirt off, he undid his pants. Stepping out of them, he tossed them onto the desk chair. His erection bulged under his grey boxer briefs, and he tore them off, releasing his hard-on. Élodie gasped slightly at the sight of his thick, ridged length.
   Nico pulled the plush golden bedspread off the king size bed, letting it spill to the floor, and guided Élodie, still wearing her bra and black lace thong, to the edge of the bed, then knelt on the floor in front of her. Leaning in, he kissed a path from her left knee up her thigh, to the top of her mound, then playfully flicked his tongue around and into her navel. She reached out for him, cupping his head in her hands in an attempt to bring his head back up. Refusing her, he ordered, almost gruffly, "Relax, Élodie, while I taste your sweetness."
   Restless, Élodie leaned back on her elbows and tried to breathe normally as she felt her heart racing, ready to explode.
   Kissing his way around her abdomen, he trailed his tongue down the inside of her right thigh. Her wetness growing, she squirmed and moaned in frustration. Taking his exploration of her very seriously, Nico massaged her pussy over the top of her thong, sweeping over her clit with his thumb to feel her heat.
   Élodie arched her back, letting out a whimper.
   Lifting the thong, he slipped one finger inside, pressing into the opening of her pussy, "Ah...you are dripping wet. I’m going to lap up all of your juices." He tugged the obstructing garment off, and placing his hands on her knees, spread them apart, splaying her open to him. Smiling, he commented admiringly, "I love to see a natural woman. It is very sexy. Not like a little girl." Her pubic hair framed the glistening pink flesh. Bowing his head, he leaned into her, licking a path to the mouth of her pussy, then running his tongue around her velvet folds and along the seam to the opening. When he probed the entrance with his tongue, Élodie’s breath hitched, and groaning, she rose up to meet him as he darted his tongue in and out.
   He plunged his tongue deeper into her, hooking it upward to lap her juices as they flowed. Feeling her tension grow and her legs stiffening, he tore his mouth from her. Crying out, she reached up and laced his hair in her hands, trying to hold him to her. "Ne cessez pas! Please...don’t stop," she begged.
   Cupping her buttocks in his hands, he nuzzled into her. "Shhhhhh, baby. Shhhhhh." The warmth of his breath so close to her pussy had her squirming.
   Élodie inhaled deeply, then let out a sigh and a small whimper. Nico flicked his tongue over her clitoris, then licked it tautly, sending shock waves through her body. Placing his mouth over the tender nub, he began sucking, pulling it between his lips. Arching up, she cried out his name. Never had she been tortured and ravaged in this way. As he nibbled and sucked on her nub, he inserted two fingers into her swollen, dripping pussy and began to fuck her, curling them upward and moving them in a come-hither motion over her G-spot. The juices ran down his fingers as he licked and sucked her clit. Her hips bucked and he felt her tightening—climbing higher. Panting, she begged, "Nico...please don’t stop."
   "I love the way you taste, Élodie. You are a feast that I cannot get enough of."
   He couldn’t wait much longer, and began sucking harder at her clit while his fingers worked their magic deep inside her pussy. He felt her go rigid, then shudder. She cried out, squirting into his hand as she came undone.
   "Ah, baby. I knew you would squirt for me. You were so ready."
   The intensity of her climax was beyond anything she had ever experienced. Never had she squirted while coming. She hadn’t known it was possible.
   He knelt down in front of her. Spent, Élodie watched him take hold of his cock—his eyes dark, green pools that glowed from within as if projecting moonlight. Enrapt, he pulled his hand down toward the root and back over the tip, his fingers wrapped tightly around his width, until the head mushroomed and the veins were bulging.
   Her breath increased, and she could feel a tightening coil in her belly as he readied himself. Leaning up, he pressed the head of his dick to the entrance of her pussy, steadying her with his hands on her hips. She laced her arms around his shoulders, bracing for him. Slowly, but forcefully, he plunged into her glistening, wet pussy. Wrapping her legs tightly around him, she gasped as he hit the back of her. Still feeling the hypersensitivity from her orgasm, her pussy quivered as he filled her. Burying his head into her hair, his breath became ragged as he fucked her with a frenzied desire she had never felt before. Plunging over and over, he drove harder and deeper into her, growling in agony. Each time he hit that same swollen sensitive spot inside, her body quaked repeatedly, sending her rocketing up to meet him. She adored being possessed by this man as he powered into her with a fevered passion, claiming all of her. He grabbed her hair as he dove into her, and her eyes locked on his as she felt the rippling waves of another orgasm overtake her, watching the pain and pleasure on his face when he ejected hot jets of semen into her.
   Nico collapsed and lay with his dick inside her. She kept her legs wrapped tightly around him, holding him to her as their breathing slowly returned to normal. Feeling his cock twitch, she clenched the muscles of her pussy to keep him inside. Fiddling with his hair, she wound the dark locks around her finger contentedly.
   Nico nuzzled his face into her neck. "I could stay inside you forever."
   Élodie wasn’t sure how long they lay there together. Partially awake, she felt him move inside her. Then his lips found hers and their tongues clashed, pirouetting around each other. Élodie couldn’t take her eyes off of his.
   "I can’t get enough of you. I don’t ever want to let you go, Élodie," he purred.
   They made love again—slowly, with much less urgency. Stroking her hair, he kissed her eyes, then her neck, down to her shoulders, as he moved his body in harmony with hers. They climaxed together; this time an endless, deep, pulsating unraveling within her. He did things to her body she had never felt before, and that she knew she would never find with anyone but Nico.
   In the morning, they stood on the terrace looking out over the lush gardens and blue water. Nico spoke sadly. "I only have a few more days here. I have to go back to L.A."
   Élodie leaned her head on his shoulder. "I know, baby. But I will come there next week. I have many clients in L.A. We can be together often, and you can meet me in Paris and Monaco."
   "I don’t want you to see anyone else, Élodie. I want us to be together. "
   "Nico, I don’t have anyone else. There is no one. I have never felt this way, and I have no need for anyone but you." Élodie couldn’t believe her own words, but as she said them, she knew she spoke the truth to herself, and to Nico.
   "I can’t stand the thought of not having you every day, touching your skin. And your smell...the way your pussy smells to me...it’s intoxicating. You’re like a drug that I must have every day. Come with me, Élodie. I can’t leave you behind."
   "Nico, I will follow you. I have to go back to Monaco and finish up some business. Then I will come to L.A. in just a few days. You’ll see."
   She turned to walk back into the room, and Nico caught her by the hand, drawing her to him in a lingering kiss.
   "I have to shower," Élodie murmured. "See," she said, pointing east, "I have to get over to the museum on Saadiyat Island for a meeting, and you are making me late." She laughed softly, reaching up to push his hair back off his face. "Don’t you have someplace important to be?"
   Nico huffed, "I do..." but he left his destination unspoken. "A car is picking me up soon. So, yes, let’s shower. And I will try to keep my hands off you!"
   Élodie cleared her throat mockingly, knowing neither of them would be able to control themselves.
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Lenka Lee - Interview with Luna Saint Claire

What inspired you to write? I became embroiled in the life of a charismatic yoga master, who was also a shaman, and his entourage of beautiful, intelligent, successful women in Hollywood. Luckily, I wasn’t in a romantic relationship with him. Yet, he still had influence over me. Nico, the antagonist of my story, is a gifted healer but uses his power for the dark side of self-interest—to acquire wealth and fame. Luna, the main character, believes she can heal him because he has awakened something inside her she thought was lost. He has made her feel that anything is possible.
Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time? I wrote the story that compelled me. The Sleeping Serpent had been brewing inside me for years. Everyone who knew me kept asking me if I would write a book about my experience with a sociopath. I wasn’t ready to allow it to emerge until January 2013 and then I wrote unwaveringly for three years until publishing in October of 2015.

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How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish? The Sleeping Serpent was written with an outline that I adhered to only loosely. My WIP is being written with a Hero’s Journey arc, but no outline.
Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone? I had the emotional support of all my friends and family. I worked unwaveringly for three years, writing all day and then stopping around 4 or 5pm to go to the gym and then spend the evening with my husband. I had a most encouraging and wonderful working relationship with my editor with whom I shared the cover credit.
What was the most difficult part of writing your book? Once I had completely written the story,it was long enough to be a trilogy. The arc was not working as a trilogy so I took the entire document apart and reassembled it into one standalone novel. It was tedious, but it became better for the effort.

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What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book? It was the most creative project I have undertaken. I have been a costume designer, painter, and dancer in my life, and this was the best, most cathartic experience.
Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published? Absolutely. I had an experience with a cult-like group something many people, thankfully, do not become embroiled in. It was life changing and a difficult time. It was also a journey of self-discovery. Many women can learn from this story.
What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity? I need to wait until the ideas surface. I can't dredge them up. I sit and wait, often impatiently, for the inspiration gods to sit down next to me and guide my hand. The more impatient I become, the more I know they will not come. They test our spirit.

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What strategies do you use to deal with criticism? There is no denying that criticism is a testing devil. I know spiritually and even intellectually that criticism is a necessary gift. Why do we write? For other people's approval or for our creative, spiritual and emotional development? I would like to aspire to create for my own satisfaction. I have learned a great deal by writing The Sleeping Serpent. That is what my purpose is on the planet. Self-discovery and the evolution of my soul.
Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory? There is most certainly a circle of life. In high school I wrote tortured poetry. I never fit with the popular girls who tittered about boys, and hung out smoking cigarettes at the mall. I was an artist, listened to the edgy new music with potent lyrics, and I dressed eclectically bohemian wearing only silver and turquoise jewelry. I was never happy with the way I looked. I was darker skinned, with long thick black hair. I looked nothing like any of my classmates in Syracuse, New York. I had been adopted as an infant from the Mohawk tribe. I was a Native American. In college I made friends and fit in. I discovered I was actually an exotic beauty. I began to feel somewhat intellectual—which was trendy.
Do you have a favorite quote? I have many. I put on on my web site by Haruki Murakami and since I am currently reading Kafka on the Shore I will post this one: “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” Haruki Murakami from Kafka on the Shore.
What is your favorite show on TV? I have most recently been obsessed with "This is Us" But I love Game of Thrones!
Favorite movie? I am going with Out of Africa because it is one of the few movies that is as good as the book, a memoir by Isak Dinesen.

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Favorite book? My favorite authors and hence books are those whose lush prose is so beautiful as to make me weep as I read sentences repeatedly hoping to embody the spirit that inspired them. The characters are deep, detailed and complex, compelling us to them emotionally. We share their experience and travel with them on their journey, even into death. My favorites are not plot-driven fast-paced page-turners. On the contrary, they are languid almost dream like prose that causes me to think about life and its painful journey. I adore Ian McEwan and Jhumpa Lahiri for their exquisite prose. All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarty and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier are authors/books that are two favorites. For memoir, I adore Out of Africa and also Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. As for short story: Jim Harrison's Legends of the Fall and Hemingway's, The Old Man and the Sea are my favorites. When I read Hemingway, I am left in awe. I recently re-read The Old Man and the Sea on a train ride and sat in stunned silence when I finished. How can anyone write so beautifully, and concisely, and unpretentiously and tell such a marvelous story?!
Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive. I will say Hemingway. But, I want to meet him back in time in Paris or possibly Spain.
Is there a talent you wish you had? I was never the dancer I aspired to be, nor the painter I had hoped to be in my youth. I would love to have what I imagine to be the free flowing constant inspiration and style of prose of any one of the authors I named. But I venture that each of them have questioned themselves at times.
What’s something about you that would surprise us? I love the idea of travel, but I am a bit of a homebody.
Describe yourself in 3 words! Constantly moving forward

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