Hi there! This is Laelia Starla, author of steamy romance and thrilling fantasies. Thank you to the Authors’ Lounge for inviting me to post and showcase my latest book release. I am an independent, self-published author and I started writing my debut novel (I Heart Mr. Collins) in 2018 when the story came to me in a series of dreams. I was part way through my second university degree at the time (commerce accounting—in case you were wondering), but when I discovered my passion for writing was more than just a passing phase, I ceased my studies and became a fulltime author. I can’t believe it took me this long to work it out! English was my favourite subject in school and I was always an avid fiction reader.
My latest release, From Prying Eyes, is a tale of forbidden love and a young woman’s sexual awakenings. Sophie, a young university student, is haunted by visions of a mysterious stranger making love to her in the dark. She becomes torn between affections for the guy she’s had a crush on for years and strong yearnings for the man of her dreams, and she can’t shake the feeling that there is something familiar about her fantasy lover. Then one fateful night, her dreams come to life at the debutante ball where Sophie is swept off her feet for several blissful minutes. But when the masks come off, she is forced to accept the shocking truth: her enigmatic lover is no stranger.
I was inspired to write this story while drafting I Heart Mr. Collins, thinking: why don’t I write the book that Phoebe wrote? I did just that and the Phoebe Braddock Books were born. This is a series linked by theme rather than characters, so each one can be read as a standalone.
Like its spiritual prequel (I Heart Mr. Collins), From Prying Eyes sits on the cusp of the Young Adult and New Adult genres. The main characters celebrate their eighteenth birthdays soon into the story and lose their virginities during the book, but there is some content that might be a bit much for the younger YA audience. Therefore, I recommend it for readers that are 18+.
Excuse me a moment while I pop up onto my preacher’s podium. I acknowledge that the taboo themes of this book will be difficult for a lot of readers to handle, but I hope that some will come to appreciate my underlying message. Why should the love between consenting adults be forbidden if it does not harm others? What these people do in the privacy of their bedrooms is no one else’s business. The approach that I have taken to convey this message is to present a story that immerses you in the lives of a young couple who are struggling with their desires for each other – desires that are against the law in the country where they live. But I have also provided a parallel plot by introducing Sophie’s best friend, Dominic who is trying to come to terms with his own sexuality. While Dominic’s budding relationship is more socially acceptable today, there was a time when homosexuality was outlawed throughout most of the world. There is still a lot of prejudice towards the LGBTQ+ community and you will see a heartbreaking example of this in my book.
That said, I promise that From Prying Eyes will be an enthralling story of passion and intrigue, delivering you entertainment value, and it may even arouse you at times. While it is not my primary intention to titillate my readers (I don’t write erotica), I don’t hold back when it comes to the intimate moments. I like to write steamy scenes that are raw and ring true, embracing the full spectrum of human emotion. I am also a big believer in the value of building tension through a slow burn romance because that makes the climax so much more enjoyable.
This is the second Phoebe Braddock Book and I have a third on the way, due for release in August 2021. Keep an eye out of for Crystal’s Crucible, a suspense filled forbidden romance involving a young chemistry graduate and her new boss.
From Prying Eyes is available in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088QM8DNJ
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