Monday, February 4, 2013

Love is Love...Laura Tolomei

Gender? What a mistake…at least according to my characters

That we shouldn’t accept what society feeds us without questioning it first is one of my favorite themes, particularly when it comes to tricky subjects such as same-gender relationships. My readers probably know by now I mostly write gay m/m genre, and even if the sex is very exciting, it’s not why I chose it. No, my aim is more ambitious. I try to show people an alternative way of living their lives, urge them to follow their sexual orientations no matter how unconventional, to think before conforming.
To Seduce A Soul Mate, Book 1 of the Soulmate Series, is the perfect example of what I believe in. My leading character, Pirate Drake, is in a rut. He’s always been a heterosexual, attracted to women alone, when here comes Martin–a green-eyed Irish devil who claims Drake is his soul-mate. For one who has never considered men as possible mates, in bed or out, the news is kind of hard to digest. Drake has never been with a man before, and it scares him to death. But there’s something about Martin that torments Drake, to the point he can’t eat, sleep or focus on anything besides the blond, green-eyed devil. Call it attraction, call it destiny, call it love—whatever it is, it drives Drake crazy. And what’s the one real thing’s holding him back? The fear of being classified as gay by the people around him, which to him has a negative connotation. What Drake needs is help to dig through his conventional beliefs after discovering his soul-mate isn’t exactly the gender he expected it to be.

 “So what?” Is Peter’s comment, one of the minor players in To Seduce A Soul Mate. “I don’t see why people are so biased in this age and time. Let me tell you something. Life is too short to play silly games with your happiness. We don’t have the luxury of time so if you find something truly special, you should grab it with all your strength never, ever, letting it go, and the hell with everything else.”

That’s one way of looking at it. Another is through Plato’s theory on soul-mates, a very interesting one, so I’ll let Peter fill you in.

“Plato had an interesting theory of his own on the subject. He said that at the beginning of time, human beings were strange creatures with two heads, four arms, four legs, two hearts and so on. In short, they were two beings in one. Since they wanted to imitate the gods, they became more perfect with each passing day until the gods feared they would eventually have more power than they did. So they decided to eliminate the unwanted competition by cutting the creatures in half and scattering the different parts on Earth. This condemned each part to look for its missing half, its soul mate so to speak. But not all creatures were hermaphrodites, that is male and female halves attached together. Some were two males or two females in the same body who kept the same sex also after splitting. Of course, since the missing halves inevitably looked for each other, Plato found homosexual relationships perfectly natural and acceptable.”

Yet another way of looking at it comes from Rose Seymour, Drake’s mother. Her pragmatic view may seem extreme to some, but it gets right to the heart of the matter.

“Homosexuality had never seemed a scandalous behavior, rather an insecure person’s nightmare.”

But maybe the best authority on the subject is Martin himself, the seducer, the silent voice in the novel, yet the one doing all the underground work.

“Technically, I’m not gay. I like men and women. I prefer the former to the latter, but it’s not that important when it comes to sex.”

Then again, Andrea, a character from Spying the Alcove, sums it up for Valerio, his heterosexual professor in archaeology:

“Sex is meant to be shared. It’s too precious to lock in a drawer, throwing away the key, or save for an exclusive use alone. It’s free and has no limitations except our own. And gender should never be an acceptable limit.”

Yeah, sure, sex is sex no matter what, but what about love? More than the sex, it’s the feelings for a person of the same gender that are hard to acknowledge, as though they were a liability rather than an asset. Returning to Drake and Martin, in Book 2, The Pirate’s Surrender, what is most difficult for Drake to accept is that he’s falling in love with Martin. That’s more serious stuff than living together and having fantastic sex whenever they feel like it. Martin, on the other hand, has no qualms about expressing his soul.

Martin leaned back on the chair. He had not wanted to press the pirate in a corner, but when he had come out with that ridiculous invitation to his parents’ house, he had not been able to control it. Not that he regretted the things he had said, all true and very much so in their context. No, what was getting to him was the fact he could not handle it—being so close to the pirate and not be able to express his feelings. For they had grown, as he feared they would the moment he agreed to live with his soul-mate. Now simply looking at him was laden with the urge to kiss, hold, have him in any way possible. And he longed to say the words burning in his heart, just could not afford the chance to lose his beloved over them. Even more frustrating, he had watched Drake developing much the same feelings. Too bad the pirate in him refused to acknowledge them, holding them back behind a wall of apparently impenetrable male strength. It drove Martin mad every time he perceived it, then he got more furious in bed, when the sheer passion of Drake’s response made it crumble miserably, to reveal a depth of emotions that would have frightened Martin had his soul-mate let them free.

How does Drake solve his dilemma?

Drake stared in empty space. “I scorned his soul-mate theory so much he vowed never to bring it up again. And he hasn’t. But the truth is I was scared. To be with him meant so many changes in my life I wasn’t sure I was ready for them, like having sex with a man, something I never dreamed of before Martin, or worse coming to terms with the possibility I might want to spend my life with a man. That took a lot of adjusting since I was scared of passing off as a fag, which I—”
“Love has nothing to do with being straight or gay.” It was his philosophical mate who supplied the right words. “You fall in love with a person, not with his or her gender.”

“Love has nothing to do with being straight or gay.” Got it? I think I made my point. In case I haven’t, I’d like to leave you with a few excerpts from the books mentioned above.

PG EXCERPT (from Spying the Alcove)
Feeling every second closer to danger, Valerio shifted nervously, hoping Andrea would take his arm off his legs. “I don’t like men, never had.”
“What is it you don’t like? The Greeks used to think the highest art form was the male body.”
“They were Greeks.”
“So we’re Italians, their proudest heritage.”
The Professor grinned. “Not enough to change my tastes.”
“Only because you haven’t found the right person,” Andrea assured.
“What do you mean?”
“That physical attraction has no rules or boundaries. A man could fall for another man even if he’s never considered them as possible mates.”

M/M Erotic (from To Seduce A Soul Mate, Book 1 Soulmate Series)
“Hey, Martin baby, aren’t you going to join in?” she asked, stopping to raise her head. Her hands kept working fast as she turned to the pirate. “I don’t know if he told you, but he loves cock, probably more than I do.” She bent on Drake’s erection, her tongue running on the stem in a playful mood. “And they tell me he’s quite good, too.”
“He knows, Jo Jo,” Martin assured, “but he’s not interested.”
Drake opened his mouth to protest, then closed it. Fear and excitement mingled together in an odd tenseness that clutched his body in a tight spasm. Wanting to say something, he turned to look at the Irishman and it was his undoing. The green gaze sucked him in a bottomless pit until no escape was possible. Unable to tear his eyes off, Drake went deeper inside Martin’s web, feeling the electricity coursing in his veins as if it were blood, heart thumping in his throat while his mouth, suddenly dry, burned for the chance to kiss the blond devil. Licking his lips, the pirate swallowed hard. “I may have changed my mind,” he breathed at last.
Martin’s grin was priceless. His mouth broke into the most wonderful smile Drake had ever seen and it had the power to melt his heart while stiffening his dick to a steel hardness. Weighed down by the urge to kiss him, he pushed the blond head down to his crotch. But the instant the Irish’s hot mouth closed on his enflamed dick, the jilt of intense erotic fulfillment plunged him straight back into Thanksgiving. And the pirate knew he would never be free now.

ADULT EXCERPT (from The Pirate’s Surrender, Book 2 Soulmate Series)
“I’m sick and tired of the nonsense claiming that to stick your cock automatically makes you superior, while who takes it is considered inferior. This is male chauvinism if I ever heard it! And it can’t be justified in any way.”
Unable to keep still, he shifted position, curling on himself.
“Take us for example. You’ll end up sticking it in more times than I’ll ever do it to you. Does that make me your inferior or less of a man?”
He slammed a fist on the mattress enraged. “Just think if it were true, all women—I repeat all—would be inferior by default, and you know that’s bullshit.”
He did not wait for Drake’s confirmation. “The truth is we’re fucking equals, men and women, you and I regardless of which position we assume in bed, of what we do and how we do it. It’s high time we stopped using sex to determine balances in social relations, or rather their unbalances. Who gives what to whom should have nothing to do with how we treat our fellow human beings.”
His breath played on Drake’s face. “This basic respect is lacking in today’s relationships, whether it’s lovers, colleagues, friends—”
“Fucking-friends,” Drake retorted.

Laura Tolomei
Check out my blog @LallaGatta for more exclusive and fiery hot excerpts on my sagas and series!
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1 comment:

  1. Super post, Laura! Thanks so much for sharing with us. I agree, love comes first, gender second. :)