Please join us in welcoming Helena Maeve to Sinfully today, on the blog tour for her new release Fistful of Lies.
The Perils of Empathy
Here’s something interesting. A study published last year by University of Vienna psychologist Claus Lamm argues that men and women react to stress in radically different ways. Women, Lamm contends, respond with heightened empathy for others when faced with a stressful situation. Men, on the other hand, turn inward to conserve their energy for a potential clash. Empathy therefore becomes a coping strategy as much as a social interaction skill.
I’m not a big fan of studies that focus on men being one way and women being the other, but I will admit to being a sucker for insights into how our minds work and why. By assigning them as many varied responses as I think makes sense, I can puzzle out how to rescue my characters out of dire straits or throw them into new ones.
Take Fistful of Lies, my latest title from Pride Publishing. In a nutshell, it’s the story of a holiday in Greece gone horribly wrong. Reuben, a crime fiction lover, has been happily dating Leif Claeson for some time despite a considerable difference in both age and status. At least on the surface, their improbable relationship is going smoothly and a holiday to Leif’s private island in Greece should only cement their love affair.
But consider that Reuben has just lost his job under a cloud of suspicion and Leif is wrestling with a decision that could well destroy his father’s legacy. Consider, too, that Leif’s sister and her fiancée, as well as their two closest friends and their partners, are also invited on this holiday. Suddenly this idyllic paradise begins to look a lot less heavenly and a lot more like a pressure cooker. Bodies found floating in pools and attempted murder are only the outward signs that something is brewing between Leif’s guests.
According to Dr. Lamm’s study, this heightened stress should lead about ninety percent of the cast to brood and hunker down in their respective positions. It should also transform Leif’s sister, a businesswoman with a bloodhound’s keen sense for profit, into a source of comfort for her friends and family. But it wouldn’t be a very good story if everyone reacted precisely the way they’re supposed to.
Empathy manifests in curious ways, both in real life and in fiction. In Fistful of Lies specifically, empathize with the almost-victim is part of the reason Reuben becomes so driven to find out who among his lover’s guests is capable of lethal violence. What he means to do once his sleuthing unravels that mystery is another matter entirely.
Fistful of Lies
Publisher ~ Pride Publishing
Published ~ 15th December 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M/M Romance
If you wanted to, how would you kill your lover?
Freshly sacked from his professorship, Reuben could do without a month-long holiday on his boyfriend’s private island. But he may as well enjoy the perks while they last. As soon as details of his dismissal surface, he’s sure to wind up alone with his murder mystery fixation.
Born with a silver spoon firmly between his teeth, Leif Claeson is no stranger to loss. He and twin sister Petra could lose their father’s creaking multinational at any moment…unless they fulfil his last wishes to the letter. Then again, Leif has always been something of a wild card. He’d rather vacation with his lover than worry about the future. When a stranger crashes their holiday, Leif sees only the potential for blissful debauchery. Ruben disagrees.
Power and sex make for a potent cocktail and everyone in Leif’s inner circle has a stake in what becomes of this Hellenic paradise. As Leif and Reuben struggle to reconcile their feelings with the strange happenings on the island, a chain of events is set in motion that could endanger their very lives.
Reader Advisory: This books contains scenes of MMM ménage, drug use and murder.
Excerpt from Fistful of Lies
“Were you going to tell me?”
I expected anger. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d had a few choice words for my choice of timing, as well. I could’ve found a better time to drop the bombshell. Instead, Leif mostly sounded hurt.
“To be honest, I didn’t know how,” I confessed, toeing off my loafers. My feet ached, much like the rest of me. Arguing with Leif was the very last thing I wanted to do.
“You seemed to do a pretty good job over dinner.”
No point in arguing. I deserved the reprimand. I gripped the balcony door for balance as I bent to retrieve my shoes. The gauzy white curtains fluttered like a sail, parting to reveal the glass pane behind them.
In their reflection, I watched Leif raked a hand through his blond hair. He did it often when he was restless. No wonder his hair had begun to thin a little at the temples.
“Don’t you trust me? I don’t understand why you wouldn’t even mention… This is big news. And don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great,” he told me, “if it’s what you want to do,. I just… I wish you’d told me.”
Another gust of of warm, summer breeze stirred the curtains, offering an unfettered view of the sloping, shadowed heart of the island. Between the moonlight beaming down from a cloudless sky and the lit windows of the modernist monstrosity south of us, the flagstone path was a collection of juddering shadows.
My restless gaze picked out a flash of movement by the pool, a dark shadow on the water.
I grabbed the curtain as it gently swung to obscure the window again.
“Is it what you want, Reuben?” Leif asked, blurred reflection frowning lopsidedly at my back.
I barely noticed. My throat tightened, squeezed by an invisible fist. “Oh, Christ.”
Leif smacked his lips. “You don’t have to tell me if—”
“There’s a body,” I forced out. “There’s a body in the pool.”
Meet Helena Maeve
Helena Maeve has always been a globe trotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she's collected in her excursions. When she isn't writing erotic romance novels, she can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning in her trusty little notebook.
Enter our December blog tour competition for the chance to win a free eBook from Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/december-competition