Hi! Welcome to the blog tour for Stealing Innocents by Cari Waites. Who is not-so-secretly Lisa Henry. I’m visiting some of my favourite blogs around the place to talk a bit about writing Stealing Innocents, and sharing some of my influences, ideas, and even an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win prizes!
When it came to writing a new story for the Stealing Innocents anthology, my first thought was “serial killers!” No, I don’t know how my brain works either. In the end, for whatever reason, I couldn’t get the story to work and went with something different. I think, probably, that the serial killer story was too big for a short story, so chances are it’s something I’ll work on again in the future. Especially since it’s an idea I’m not ready to let go.
I’ve always been fascinated by good and evil, both our ideas of those concepts, and how mutable they are depending on experience, and perspective. I am particularly interested in the idea that evil is something that can be inherited, or trained into a person, which is where my serial killer idea was born.
Imagine a boy who is ten years old when he’s abducted by a killer. Imagine, for whatever reason, that the killer doesn’t murder the boy. And imagine, when the police finally track the killer down, that the boy has learned to call himself a different name and says he is the killer’s son. A victim, or an accomplice? And if there are no living witnesses, how is anyone supposed to know?
Grant, a journalist, is obsessed with discovering the truth about the young man who still calls himself Tanner Proctor, the name his abductor gave him. He tracks him down, and embarks on a relationship with him. Here’s a very NSFW excerpt of what that might have looked like:
Tanner lived upstairs from the bar, in a single room that contained nothing except a bed and a dresser. There was a small fridge on the floor, humming away.
“Bathroom’s across the hall,” Tanner said as he stripped his clothes off. “If you need it.”
“I’m good.” Grant let his gaze slide over the body that Tanner revealed without shame. He was looking for scars, he guessed, like the one on his face. There were none that he could see. Tanner was tall and lean. A twink’s body, but one molded by accident rather than design. Tanner wasn’t shaved and waxed and flawless. He had hair on his chest, and a trail of it that thickened as it led from his navel down to his dick. He was cut. As Grant watched, Tanner tugged on his hardening dick a few times, then crossed to the dresser and tugged the top drawer open. Tossed a condom and a bottle of lube onto the rumpled covers of the bed.
“Come on then,” he said, with no inflection in his tone.
Grant felt that it should have been different. If Tanner was a predator, then where was the piquant sting of danger? And if Tanner was a victim, where was his vulnerability? There should have been something. Anything.
Nothing changed in Tanner’s expression as he climbed onto the bed. Dipped his spine down and took his weight on his shoulders like he did this a hundred times a day. A bodily function like any other.
“You sure you want to do this?” Grant unbuttoned his shirt.
“Yeah.” Tanner turned his head. “I’ve seen you on TV.”
It sounded a lot like a non sequitur, but Grant wasn’t so sure. Tanner wouldn’t be the only guy who wanted to fool around with someone they knew from the television. Except Tanner was a celebrity too, in a twisted kind of way, more famous than Grant. So maybe that’s why Grant didn’t walk away. Maybe he wanted to know what was under the surface. Maybe he wanted to know more than other people did, dig a little and get the real scoop. To know, to find the disassembled pieces of a puzzle and to be the one to put them back together.
“I’ve seen you on TV too,” Grant said, shrugging off his shirt.
A flicker of something Grant couldn’t identify flashed through Tanner’s gray eyes. He shifted, spine moving sinuously. “Yeah?”
“Yeah.” Grant dropped his hands to his belt buckle.
Tanner chewed his bottom lip for a second, mouth twisting and tugging at his scar. Then he shrugged, his spine shifting under a swathe of pale skin. “What are you waiting for then?”
Grant ran his hand own Tanner’s sweat-slicked back, felt the muscles shifting under his wet skin, and thought of him kneeling in a dog cage as blood rained down on him. He watched as Tanner’s tight hole swallowed his cock, inch by inch. Tanner moaned into his mattress, and Grant felt suddenly powerful. In this moment he owned Tanner, the same way that Leonard Proctor had owned him. He fucked him, the same way Leonard Proctor had. Grant thrust in slowly, almost dizzy with the knowledge that he was experiencing the same sensations as Proctor had, the same thrill of domination as Tanner clenched around his cock.
Leonard Proctor had taken this boy and molded him into . . . something. Grant was desperate to know what it was. Whether he had a killer or a victim moaning on the end of his cock, Grant knew that Tanner’s mind held more dark secrets that most people ever even glimpsed. He felt a sudden urge to grip him by the hair and force his head back, to see the scar that Proctor had carved into Tanner’s face, to stare at it as he fucked him, and know just a fraction of that same thrill. To force a connection, and to see something in Tanner’s eyes.
He just wanted a spark.
Tanner turned his face into the mattress as Grant came inside him.
Tanner sat up and swung his legs over the bed. Reached for a pack of cigarettes lying on the bedside table and drew one out. His fingers were long and thin. His thumb rasped over the wheel of the lighter, and the tiny flame flared. Tanner inhaled, the ember of the cigarette glowing bright for a moment. Smoke rose toward the ceiling.
“I don’t do interviews.” The same non sequiturs. The same monotone. Tanner’s eyes were dark and Grant imagined they were full of depth. But maybe they were as flat and cold as flint.
Grant’s legs were a little shaky as he stepped into his jeans. “Do you do second dates?”
Tanner’s gaze flicked toward him, and then away again. He shrugged. “If you want.”
Grant left him his number.
Lisa Henry Writing as Cari Waites
Author ~ Lisa Henry Writing as Cari Waites
Publisher ~ Riptide Publishing
Published ~ 11th January 2015
Genre ~ Dark, Erotic, BDSM, M/M
Those who dare to scratch the surface of ordinary, everyday life may be horrified to find a sick underbelly beneath—a nightmare world populated by villains and victims, predators and prey, where the rules of society no longer apply.
Where you’ll find people like Danny, the boy who sells himself to pay for his father’s gambling debts and ends up in a situation more twisted than he ever imagined. Or Troy, the cop whose obsession with saving a brutalized human trafficking victim turns deadly. Or Drew, the mental patient who begins to suspect his nightly delusions of abuse by his doctor are actually real. Or David, the cuckolded husband who decides the best way to get revenge is to seduce his wife’s barely legal son.
Stealing Innocents is an exploration of our darkest human impulses, where sex is power, love is horror, and there’s no such thing as a happy ending.
This collection contains three edited second editions stories that were previously individually published, plus one all-new story, by Lisa Henry writing as Cari Waites.
Meet Lisa Henry
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she 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 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.
Cari Waites is her much darker alter ego.
To celebrate the release of Stealing Innocents, Lisa is giving away a $20 Riptide credit and an ebook of your choice of title from Lisa’s backlist. Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 16, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Lisa can reach you if you win!