Rhiannon Donovan, daughter to the vampire Queen, would rather die than be made a bride to a demon Lord. Aijyn, courtesan to the undead Daimyo of Kansai, can think of nothing more horrifying than his promise of eternal life. In the halls of the Blood Lotus Temple, the two women struggle against the chains of their fate, and find a solace in each other that could mean freedom for them both... or might cost each of them their lives.
13 New Fun Facts About Lotus Petals
1. Rhiannon was born on a Sunday: December 13th, 1699. This makes her a Sagittarius.
2. Though she has spent most of her life in Austria and speaks German as her native language, Rhiannon is actually Welsh by descent. She was sent away by her mother at birth to be raised by the Viking, Solva.
3. Solva is both Rhiannon's bodyguard and her handler, since Rhiannon, as a kin-born vampire, is viewed as a liability to her mother's court.
4. Solva's surname is Grimms dottir, meaning "daughter of Grimr". In Norse etymology, "grimr" could mean "grim" but could also mean "mask" and was thought to sometimes refer to a type or helmet shielding the face. It
was also another name for Odin.
5. Nagisa, the daimyo's favorite courtesan,
was originally meant to be a maiko, or apprentice geisha, when the daimyo turned her. Historically speaking, however, the timing was off, and I had to change her to an odoriko dancing girl. The original story of the maiko was reborn in Once Bitten, a short story later published in an anthology of vampire erotica.
6. I originally wanted to give Aijyn blue eyes, to make her stand out more among the courtesans, but this seemed too similar to Sayuri, the lead in Memoirs of a Geisha. Nagisa, however, has hazel-green eyes, to heighten her snake-like character. She also wears striking amounts of green.
7. Designing Rhiannon's unique kimono was one of my favorite parts of writing the book.
8. Deleted scenes include an appearance by a succubus who performs for the entertainment of the daimyo and his guests, making Aijyn jealous over Rhiannon's attentions, and a scene where Rhiannon sneaks away from
the temple to bring Aijyn a gift from a human village: a heavy bracelet of jade beads.
9. There is almost always water nearby in any erotic or romantic scene between Aijyn and Rhiannon: a tub of water, a river, a hot springs, or rain. In contrast, the climax of their story occurs in fire.
10. Aijyn considers herself meek and even cowardly, but she stands up to or defies every major vampire character at least once in the book, and more than the vampires dare stand up to each other.
11. The characters generally speak to one another using a common vampiric language, even Aijyn, who learned it to better serve her master.
12. Rhiannon has a labrys (double-headed axe) tattooed on her left shoulder blade. I got a similar version of that tattoo on my right ankle the day the book was originally published.
13. Rhiannon's gold kimono is decorated with tigers. This foreshadows elements of the second book in the series, Satin and Steel.
"Rhiannon-sama," she began again, well aware she might be broaching a subject Rhiannon would easily wish to avoid, even to the point of sending her attendant violently away.
"Hm?" the vampire murmured.
"Your bodyguard...she likes to see you in pain."
Rhiannon waited a long time before she answered.
"Perhaps I like pain, mortal."
Aijyn did not argue...but she had seen the expression on Rhiannon’s face when Sölva had tormented her.
"You must hide the scars from the daimyo," she chided gently. "And you cannot allow her to leave any more marks on you, if you do not wish to anger him."
"And if I do wish to anger him?"
"Do not be petulant," Aijyn scolded.
"Does he believe his bride will be untouched? That his kin-born bastard bride will not have experienced acts of the flesh? I am over half a century a living birth-child. Does he realize how most kin-born are meant to earn their keep in demon houses?"
"He expects you will be untouched for him," Aijyn said. "Whatever has gone before, now you are his. And Gohachiro is not a man to share his treasures."
"Doesn’t he like to use pain?" Rhiannon asked. She rolled over under Aijyn’s hands, lying on her side and reaching out to touch the scar she herself had left on the courtesan’s wrist. At the light caress of her finger, a delicious tingle of pleasure ignited under the skin, making Aijyn shiver as the vampire had a moment ago.
Rhiannon pulled Aijyn closer, and lowered herself over the wound to kiss it a second time. The warm arousal intensified, and Aijyn caught her breath as her body awoke to the sensation, nipples stiffening under the soft silk of her kimono.
"Here," Rhiannon whispered, reaching up to brush the dark strands of hair from Aijyn’s shoulder, revealing the tiny, neat scars of bites past. Scars that would never heal the way the vampire’s did, white little lines and half-moons, memories of Gohachiro’s affections.
"Doesn’t he give you pain…" Rhiannon said, following their contours with light but deliberate pressure.
"…so he may turn it into pleasure?"
"Rhiannon-sama…" Aijyn murmured vaguely. One hand had dropped into her lap; the other rested on the vampire’s warm, lean arm. Strange awareness filled her: the touch stirred up the first bloom of eagerness in her loins and the pit of her belly.
"Pain is what we are, courtesan. Pain, hunger, pleasure, death. We are the undead. I am just over half a century old, more than twice your age, and I have been Sölva’s for longer than you have been alive. There are scars you will never see, all over my body: the marks of her fangs, of her whip, the cut of her blade, the pierce of steel needles. And every one of them sings when she touches me, screams when she hurts me...and it is ecstasy."
Aijyn realized with some dread she had made a mistake. The vampire’s touch brushed against her, terribly light, terribly fleeting, but her voice...soft, beautiful, rich, like strong liquor.
Rhiannon’s hand came to rest on the back of Aijyn’s neck. She gently pulled the courtesan closer, resting forehead-to-forehead and searching deep into Aijyn’s wide, dark eyes.
"You do this for him, too?" she whispered. "You...perform anma for him? You touch his body with such delicate affection?"
"Yes," Aijyn whispered.
"And does it make him want to fuck?"
Before she could think better of it, Aijyn lifted up a hand and slapped her.
The strike was not a hard one. At least, to Rhiannon it would not have been hard. Aijyn’s palm stung as though she had struck it against solid rock, and she quickly pressed it in her other hand, hissing with pain.
Rhiannon did not strike back. She remained perfectly still, her expression unchanging. After a moment, once Aijyn had collected herself, the vampire leaned closer and pressed her mouth against Aijyn’s own.
"It makes me want to fuck," she said. Then she stood, one smooth, languid motion, and retreated to her coffin to at last submit to her daytime sleep.
When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.
Brantwijn has published three full-length erotic novels: Lotus Petals, Goblin Fires, and His Cemetery Doll. In addition to these, Brantwijn has had several other stories published by Breathless Press, including contributions to the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology. She's also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories and audio readings occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog.