Hi! We’re Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau, authors of Bliss. We’re touring the web talking about our influences, our writing process, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at our book, and even a sneak peek or two! And what would a blog tour be without a contest? We’re giving away a copy of the first novel we wrote together: King of Dublin!
On the tour today, we give you a sneak peek of the novel and a glimpse into Tate’s chipped and altered mind . . .
Bliss by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau
Title ~ Bliss
Authors ~ Lisa Henry & Heidi Belleau
Publisher ~ Riptide Publishing
Published ~ 18th August 2014
Genre ~ Dark M/M Romance, Dystopian
They're always happy.
Rory James has worked hard all his life to become a citizen of the idyllic city-state of Beulah. Like every other kid born in the neighboring country of Tophet, he’s heard the stories: No crime or pollution. A house and food for everyone. It’s perfect, and Rory is finally getting a piece of it.
So is Tate Patterson. He’s from Tophet, too, but he’s not a legal immigrant; he snuck in as a thief. A city without crime seems like an easy score, until he crashes into Rory during a getaway and is arrested for assaulting a citizen. Instead of jail, Tate is enrolled in Beulah’s Rehabilitation through Restitution program. By living with and serving his victim for seven years, Tate will learn the human face of his crimes.
If it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. Tate is fitted with a behavior-modifying chip that leaves him unable to disobey orders—any orders, no matter how dehumanizing. Worse, the chip prevents him from telling Rory, the one man in all of Beulah who might care about him, the truth: in a country without prisons, Tate is locked inside his own mind.
Two of my favourite authors and a winning combination… their writing as always is stunning and they have this ability to make their stories so much more than the sum of the words actually written on the pages. They make me ask questions of the characters, think outside the box and make my imagination work overtime and believe me, it’s not pretty. I got so caught up in this world they created, my emotions became real. And this could be so very real… in the back of my mind, my thoughts went to Hitler a man with so much charisma, he managed to brainwash his own nation into believing in the perfect race, the perfect people, in a perfect world. In Bliss we also see how that charismatic power and propaganda can be a powerful tool in establishing complacency, when the population begin to believe the hype of supremacy without realising the cost to humanity in achieving a false objective.
Rehabilitation through Restitution
Right from the start you have that feeling of impending doom, where the pain starts to creep across your chest. Knowing that the realisation of perfection and exactly what lies behind it in this world will be too painful to watch. Plus the fact that these two authors very rarely write anything that doesn’t rip a hole in my heart.
How seductive is the lure of perfection when you have lived in squalor. What price would you be willing to pay for that feeling of bliss. For Rory, disillusioned with life in Tophet, the corruption, crime, poverty and unrest, where everything seemed to be escalating out of his control, living in fear of the daily threat of violence. The thought of life in Belluah was a dream, a utopia, a perfect society… but we all know that when something seems too good to be true then it usually is, but Rory wants to believe in his dream so badly, he’s blinded by it all.
Where Rory used his education to escape from a life of drudgery in Tophet, Tate saw it as an opportunity to take advantage of this city state with no crime. Thinking a quick job, in and out, would be the solution to all his problems and a means to start afresh… all Tate wanted was a chance at a better life. I loved Tate’s voice and how the authors pulled me into his character so quickly, my heart went out to him immediately, he’s not a bad person, yes, he has lived his life on the wrong side of the tracks, but he is desperate to change all of that.
I hated watching the war raging in Tate’s head between his consciousness and that of the chip’s programmed required behaviour, it was heart breaking. He may not be incarcerated physically but his mind is trapped and he is lost to the feelings of helplessness and frustration. His mind screaming. But of course Rory only see’s and hears what the chip allows… and Tate must please his sponsor/master.
I initially struggled with Rory, not knowing whether he was truly oblivious or just choosing to ignore those niggles in the back of his mind or the unease he felt with Tate. Mentally justifying his actions to push away those doubts that despite, Tate’s willing compliance, his pleading, want and need for Rory, that something just wasn’t right! But of course we know the truth, so it makes for pretty uncomfortable reading, as does Rory’s guilt and conflicted emotions when the truth will out.
I felt like Tate, the voice in my head was screaming for Rory to hear me. I was so angry at the manipulative whisperings of Lowell, god, he made my skin crawl, the egotistical bastard that he was… evil painted in perfection. Which is something else both these authors excel at, they create believable evilness and depravity in their villains, so much so, that you hate them with every fibre of your being.
“You’re very beautiful. aren’t you? I’d make sure you remembered your time of service for the rest of your life, even when your time was up. Your whole body would remember.”
I love a book that takes me out of my comfort zone, I actually crave dark reads that get my adrenaline racing, it makes me feel alive. I want to champion the characters I fall in love with, I want to fight their battles with them and roar at the injustice of it all. And this book is a mind fuck of epic proportions where those that are chipped have no means to express their turmoil, where every aspect of their behaviour is a lie and belies their true internal chaos… understanding the ignorance and the crime hurts like a bitch!
This story however is not all non-con/dub-con and physical violation., there is a very emotional and intense romance of sorts simmering in the background, underneath all those layers, and it reaches a satisfactory conclusion with a nice little epilogue, just to confirm all was right in their world. Right up to the end this was a five plus star read for me, but I felt the authors, especially these two authors, (whom I hold in high esteem, so perhaps increases my expectations of them) let me down slightly, with the ending, it all felt a little too convenient (for them) especially with how elaborately detailed the rest of the book is. I know some readers don’t like overly long reads, but I feel this would have benefited from an extra couple of chapters. That being said, the true value of a book to me is whether I will remember this, will these characters, their story and experiences stay with me… then the answer to that question is an emphatic …YES!
This is without doubt another excellent read from two very talented authors who take me to their dark and depraved worlds… and I love every minute of it!
Buy it Here
“Tate?” Rory pulled aside the shower curtain, letting the steam escape. His face was bright red. “Are you okay? I didn’t want to intrude, but . . .”
But he was worried. He was a good man.
A ball of frustration formed in Tate’s stomach. He didn’t need a good man; he needed a master.
“I’m okay,” he said, his voice even. He couldn’t tell if he was still crying or not. He willed the chip to make this right, to make him calm. “I think . . . I think I just pushed myself too fast, too hard.”
Rory tsked. “I knew I should have gone easier on you. I’m sorry. Are you sore?” And then, without warning, he climbed into the shower alongside Tate, drawing the curtain behind him. His gentle hands closed around Tate’s shoulders, rubbing them in small circles.
Rory kissed his back, right between his shoulder blades where the hot water sluiced down the indent over his spine. “I’m—” another kiss, this time lower “—sorry.” Another. “So—” another “—sorry.”
Tate warmed with pleasure. With guilt, too. “Don’t say that. Please, don’t say that.”
It wasn’t right that Rory should apologize for hurting him, or for anything. Rory was supposed to take what he wanted, to demand it, and it was supposed to make Tate feel good. So why didn’t he feel good?
Rory had lowered himself to his knees. Hands on Tate’s hips now, and he turned Tate’s body until they were facing each other. He pressed his kisses to Tate’s thighs. Gently scrubbed his hands over them, over Tate’s groin and back, softly down the cleft of his ass, which was still so tender and puffy but somehow soothed by Rory’s touch. Then squinted up at him through the shower spray. “What you said . . . master. Where did that come from?”
“I . . .” From the chip. From the core of his being. Tate didn’t fucking know. He couldn’t think, either, not with Rory’s lips making trails across his sensitive flesh again. “I don’t know.”
Rory looked disappointed now. The kisses stopped. He picked up Tate’s discarded washcloth and began to sweep it over Tate’s skin, perfunctory. “You don’t know? Really? Because you say that, but your expression says different.”
Lying. He’s accusing you of lying to him.
“It felt . . . it felt right,” Tate managed.
“I don’t want you to think of me like that,” Rory said. “That’s not what this program is about, and . . . and I want us to be friends. Can we do that?”
I hit you. You fucked me. How can we be friends?
“I think,” Tate began tentatively, “I mean, in my head . . .” No. Dangerous. It would hurt. He pushed his thoughts away from the chip and back to safer ground. “I want that too.”
He’s touching you like he owns you.
He fucked you and came inside you and fucking bred you like he owns you.
Hit him. Hit him again. Do it fucking properly this time, so he never gets up.
Thoughts of blood. Of pain.
Blood on his hands. His hard cock. Jerking off for the doctor with his own blood, soaked in blood and abject humiliation.
No. No no no.
Tate dropped down onto his knees. Cupped Rory’s chin in his hands.
I don’t want to hurt you. Not ever. You are my master. You do own me. That’s okay. You’ll take care of me. You’ll help. You’ll help me get better. You’ll help me serve you. You’ll help. Me.
“Help . . . me.”
White pain pierced Tate’s skull. His vision blurred, his chest tightened, and he crashed forward into Rory’s arms.
About the Authors
Lisa Henry lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.
Her writing reflects everything she loves: diverse casts of characters, a sense of history and place, equal parts witty and filthy dialogue, the occasional mythological twist, and most of all, love—in all its weird and wonderful forms.
When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her daughter or sipping a drink at her favourite coffee shop… email: email@example.com
She also writes queer-flavoured M/F as Heloise Belleau… HeloiseBelleau.com.
Thanks for following our tour! To celebrate our release, we’re giving away a copy of our first joint release -- King of Dublin. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your facebook or goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because we won’t be able to see it otherwise! On September 1, we’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win the prize!