Dance of the Seven Veils
Robbed of her self-esteem during a loveless marriage, recently divorced Lyssa Markham allows her best friend to drag her, costumed as Salome, to a masquerade. She’s shocked then intrigued to discover the participants are members of an exclusive sex club. Hiding behind her mask, she permits her long-submerged sensual side to re-emerge as erotic sights and sounds bombard her. Seeing a darkly sexy gladiator inspires her to dance for him, seductively removing one veil at a time until she falls naked into his hot embrace.
Days later, she learns her ex has neglected to fulfill an urgent financial stipulation in the divorce decree. Unable to reach him, she storms into his lawyer’s office to resolve the problem and comes face to face with her gladiator. His first words, “Lift up your skirt…Salome.”
Robert Savidge is everything a woman could want—rich, handsome, successful. Should she obey her impulse and run from him? Or can she find the courage to explore her nascent sensuality with this man who so obviously wants to teach her?
“Lyssa and Robert are fabulous characters whom I enjoyed reading about. The sex scenes are so hot they could make Hell feel like it has air conditioning…The plot line kept my attention until the very last page was read…Ms. Anson is a talented author who has written a terrific story of a woman discovering her own strength and capabilities. I recommend Dance of the Seven Veils to anyone who enjoys contemporary tales with heroes who are sexier than sin.”
— Reviewer: Susan White, Coffee Time Romance
“DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS is not only incredibly, sinfully erotic, but it features two characters that all readers will feel a strong connection to.”
— 5 Hearts, Reviewer: Sarah W., The Romance Studio
“Lyssa’s struggle to overcome the low self-image she has from her loveless marriage was handled wonderfully. Savidge was a true alpha male, handsome, rich, and considerate, not to mention so sexy that I wanted to keep him for myself.”
— 5 Angels, Reviewer: Trang, Fallen Angel Reviews
“What a wonderful debut for the talented Cris Anson. The storyline was well written and the characters captivating. Not to mention the sex was hot! DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS is a must buy and I heartily give it 5 unicorns.”
— 5 Unicorns, Reviewer: Stacey, Enchanted in Romance
“.…a wonderful story of a woman who finds her way after being damaged emotionally by her ex-husband…With passionate encounters so hot the pages start to smoke, this is one story you do not want to miss.”
— 4 ½ Stars, Reviewer: Elise Lynn, eCataRomance
“DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS is an intriguing exploration of a woman rediscovering her sensuality and her power as a female.”
— 4 ½ Stars, Reviewer: MB, Romance Junkies
“Anson delivers an erotic and triumphant tale of a woman’s struggle with self-esteem. This first book is a spicy and promising start for the DANCE series.”
— Reviewer: Susan Mitchell, Romantic Times BOOKclub
“If you like light-hearted romance, with enough steam to fog your glasses, this is a must- read! The humor that flows between the characters, and the human emotions that fill the pages, from lust to laughter to love—this is something that can satisfy you for a long time.”
— Reviewer: Marissa, Novel Romance Reviews
“The sex between these two is hot enough to burn up the sheets, but contains an equal amount of emotion making the story more about romance and passion than simply sex.”
— Reviewer: Sinclair Reid, RomRev Today
“Lyssa and Savidge are interesting characters whose chemistry radiates from the pages of this book. (Anson) writes like a veteran of the genre and I can’t wait to read more of this exciting series from an author who is sure to be a star of erotic romance.”
— Reviewer: Miaka Chase, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
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An Excerpt From: Dance of the Seven Veils
Copyright © CRIS ANSON, 2005
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
Kat elbowed Lyssa, inclined her head to the archway leading to the foyer. “Like him. That gladiator. I’d like to be the one to turn him on.”
Lyssa’s heart skipped a beat, then thudded back to catch up. About six feet tall, dark hair curling around his ears and nape, a narrow black mask that accented the sharp cheekbones and square jaw, the gladiator leaned negligently against the jamb, arms crossed, one leg casually crossed over the other. A gold medallion glowed against a thatch of dark chest hair overlaying well-sculpted muscles. Sandals were laced up his calves, and his thighs under the short Roman tunic looked strong enough to hold him over her in a variety of positions for hours.
She blinked. Where had that thought come from?
The gladiator inclined his head slightly, raised an eyebrow. In invitation?
Lyssa swallowed hard. Her heartbeat accelerated. She realized she wanted to go to him. But her feet felt rooted to the parquet floor. Lingering doubts about her femininity choked her.
In the background the music shifted. The frenetic opening strains of Richard Strauss’ Dance of the Seven Veils wafted through the hidden speakers, tympani pounding, a haunting oboe solo connecting to her synapses. Her heart stuttered. It was as though fate had stepped in at this singular moment in time, sending her gaze to this particular stranger across this crowded room, the music reminding her of her costume of seven diaphanous veils tenuously held in place by a golden waist chain. In her eyes, the gladiator morphed into the lascivious, depraved Herod that the voluptuous Salome would entice into granting her deepest, darkest wish.
The gladiator moved languidly to a pile of plush cushions on the floor of a dimly lit alcove and reclined on his side, one knee upraised, leaning on an elbow. He swept his other arm out in a gesture of “The stage is yours” and waited, his mouth curled upward into a slight smile of anticipation.
You’re Salome, a voice said inside Lyssa’s head. Amoral, decadent, willful. Dance for him. Seduce him.
She thrust out her chin and posed like a dancer, the toes of one foot pointed out, one arm across her torso. She scribed a graceful arc up and over her head, then down to one hip, allowing her fingers to skim lightly up her thigh and between her breasts, as if calling his attention to the charms within the circle, ending with a graceful salaam gesture at face level.
Taking a deep, fortifying breath, she grabbed the edge of one veil, removed it from around her waist and dropped it to the floor at his feet. The sensuous music slowed to the leitmotif that was Salome’s signature, infusing her blood with fire. She locked gazes with him—with Herod—and tugged another veil free. Raising it high, she allowed it to float down over her hair, then dragged it down peekaboo fashion until her eyes showed, then her nose, her lips. He transferred his intent gaze to her pouting mouth, and licked his lower lip. Lyssa felt a shock of pure lust course through her. She wanted him to kiss her. Everywhere.
The music shifted to a faster tempo, compelling her to rotate her hips, to bend and sway to the music. Her hair sifted over her face in a golden curtain. She gripped the third veil and trailed it over her breast until the sensitive peak tightened and tingled, then flung the veil aside.
Faster still, the music urged Salome to tempt King Herod to his limits, to hypnotize him, to make him want to grant her most perverse wish. Another veil slipped from her body, baring both her breasts. She bent toward him, teasing him, offering her hard, pink nipples to his view but just out of reach. She spun around, undulating her arms and shoulders with her back to him, then removed the veil that covered her ass cheeks. The languid Salome leitmotif recurred, relentlessly ratcheting up the tension. She rolled her hips in a slow front-to-back motion, imitating the sex act, as she turned slowly, slowly to face him.
The lust in Herod’s eyes, the pupils so dilated they looked black, almost brought Salome to her knees. Absently she noted that his tunic tented up almost to his upraised knee. And she had done this to him. King though he may be, Salome knew she had spun a carnal web of obsession around him.
Frenzied now, the exotic music rushed to its climax as Salome divested herself of the penultimate veil across one restlessly moving hip, flinging it into the alcove, where it landed on Herod’s muscular shoulder and slid down unnoticed. The last long obbligato sounded, the oboe trill drawing out the tension to an almost unbearable level. Salome ripped off the veil covering her golden thatch and stood before her King, triumphant, panting, exquisitely naked but for the waist chain and golden sandals, the veil in her raised fist fluttering with her harsh, hot breaths.
The music ended with a turbulent cadenza punctuated by three furious chords. Salome fell to her knees and collapsed, legs on Herod’s lap, arms flung above her head, her naked skin sheened with perspiration, thighs spread apart without thought to modesty, open to her King’s lustful gaze.