Pink Petal Books Week-Lex Valentine


Does Length Matter?

What do you do when you write 55K words and someone says that’s shorter than it looks? Does that mean they were so into it that the end came before they realized it? Does it mean there wasn’t enough of the story for them? Does it mean I packed a lot of meaning and story into those 55K? More than most people would?

The first two Tales of the Darkworld were novella length. Oddly, each book I write in this series is longer than the last. I guess all those fans who want more just keep getting it with each subsequent book! *wink*

Fire Season is my first full length M/M novel. I found myself incredibly nervous about it. So much so that I enlisted Ethan Day and Jason Edding as betas to calm my fears. Jason was positive that my men sounded like men and not like women. Ethan had some bits of common sense and logic regarding men that made the light bulb go on over my head. Why didn’t I think of that? The answer was simple, of course. I’m not a man who is sexually attracted to men.

I like the same stuff gay men do for the most part. The difference is that I don’t mind watching those gay men together while they are so not interested in seeing me with my hottie of the moment. Yet that strange desire to see men making out is what fueled Fire Season. Fueled it to the tune of 55K instead of the 40K I thought it would go. That’s a lot of words about men making out.

So is 55K too short for a story like this? Personally, I think it was just right. I told the story I had to tell in the framework that I created for this story. If I did my job right, if I vested you in my characters, you did not want it to end. I know when I read an Elizabeth Hoyt book that I feel that way. More Viscount Iddesleigh! While you might think it’s a bad thing to be left wanting more, authors know it for a good thing. Because you will be back for the next book, and the one after that, and the one after that? Length only matters when you’re left unsatisfied afterward.

Huh? Isn’t wanting more and being left unsatisfied the same thing? Nope. You want more when it was so good you don’t want it to end. Unsatisfied means you were left with unfulfilled expectations and desires and you’re really not interested in having that repeated. See how easy it is to figure out what you want from men? The theory is the same for M/M novels.

For now, I’ll just tease you with a taste of Fire Season. If I’m lucky, that taste won’t be enough. You’ll want – no, need – the whole 55K. When you’re done with the whole book, feel free to email me and tell me you want more. I’ll take that as a huge compliment.

Fire Season – Tales of the Darkworld Book 3
by Lex Valentine
genre: erotic paranormal romance
length: novel
Cover art by RottNRoll Productions

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Black dragon Holden Antaeus isn’t looking for a mate. His life is filled with family, work, and dating. Women adore him and he’s never short of offers for sex, but a relationship isn’t something he’s interested in. When Holden’s brother Sean hires a new executive for Antaeus International, Holden’s whole world, and everything he’s ever believed about himself, is blown to bits. Garret Renquist is a green dragon, intelligent, witty, bi-sexual, and hot for Holden. Despite the fact that Holden is positive he’s heterosexual, the moment he meets Garret, something happens inside him. What follows is a journey through stereotypes and ingrained beliefs as Holden struggles with the fact that his destined mate is a man.


Holden wanted to look over his shoulder to see Garret’s reaction. He didn’t. He returned to the main room of the suite and picked up his water, wandering out to the balcony to watch the sun rise. It couldn’t have been more than ten minutes later that he heard a soft sound that told him Garret had joined him.

?Holden, I’m sorry.?

The softly spoken words caused Holden to release his breath on a sigh. ?I am too, Garret.? He turned, his gaze caught and held by Garret’s. A wave of emotion, mostly indefinable, rose within him, causing an ache in his chest.

Garret swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing slightly. ?I shouldn’t have done that.?

Holden sensed Garret’s discomfort, but stayed silent, waiting for him to finish. He gave the man points for holding his gaze when by rights he probably wanted to look anywhere else.

?I was angry and disappointed and confused. When Rob came on to me in the bar?? Garret broke off and swallowed again. ?I didn’t think you would care what I did, but that is no excuse. It’s just an explanation of my motivation. I know it was wrong of me to bring him back here on the day I found you. I’m so sorry.?

It had been a long time since Holden had met someone with the level of integrity that Garret had just shown. ?I’m sorry too, Garret,? he replied in a low voice. ?This whole thing was such a shock. And I know that’s not an excuse for my behavior. It’s just an explanation.?

He smiled as he repeated Garret’s words. The British man’s eyes lightened as a smile curved his lips. Holden caught a glimpse of brilliant white teeth as Garret’s smile flashed out and he suddenly felt sucker punched, his gut twisting with emotion. The urge to reach out and touch Garret overwhelmed him, just like the man’s scent filled his senses, until all he could think about was asking him to repeat yesterday’s kiss.

Garret’s eyes flickered. ?You realize that a lot of what you think and feel bleeds out to me now,? he murmured. ?Despite your natural shielding.?

Holden sucked in a breath. ?If you know what I’m thinking then just do it, Garret, ’cause the gods know I can’t yet,? he said in a shaky voice, feeling his heart begin to race.

Garret took the three steps needed to bring their bodies within inches of each other. Holden began to shake a little with fear and anticipation. The first kiss had been a surprise and filled with anger on both sides. This would be their first real kiss. They both acknowledged that they were mates, and that they felt some emotion pulling at them along with a steadily growing attraction. Regardless of the previous kiss, Holden didn’t know what to expect and when Garret’s hand came up to wrap around the back of his neck, he stiffened a little at first. Then fire licked through his veins at the feel of Garret’s warm palm on his bare skin. He shook harder.

?Don’t be afraid, Holden. It’s just a kiss.?

Garret’s soft whisper accompanied the press of his thumb against the underside of Holden’s jaw. Reflexively, he tilted his chin up and Garret’s mouth came down on his. Lust swept through his body as Garret expertly parted his lips. Holden gasped a little opening his mouth wider as Garret’s tongue glided easily against his own, the wet heat sending lightning bolts of desire shooting through him. This time when Garret’s hips brushed his, he didn’t move, letting the man press his growing erection against him. His own cock started to respond, twitching inside his shorts.

Just as Holden was about to let go and kiss Garret back, the British man broke off the kiss on a long shuddering sigh. ?I think we need to go downstairs before I forget that you’ve never been with a man before, Holden,? he said in a shaken voice.

3 Responses to “Pink Petal Books Week-Lex Valentine”

  • ZAM:

    I thought Fire Season was a very satisfying read, and yet by the same token it did leave me curious about others in the same world. I rather think you achieved just what you were set out to do in that respect!

    Besides, fully shifted dragon lurve? Oh, my goodness.

    I liked Fire Season a lot and look forward to the next installment even though it will have girl cooties…

  • Cynthia Osborne:

    Lex sweetie I have been waiting…and you got me hooked.

  • I thought the length of “Fire Season” was spot on. And leaving us hungry for more is a good thing and is certainly not on par with leaving the reader unfulfilled. Means you developed charismatic characters who snagged our interest. Even though their conflict is resolved, we like them enough to be reluctant to let them go.

    …still smiling at the though of dragons holding tails…