Lyndell Williams once published a blog post titled, Muslims do that?!
It about summed up my astonishment and delight when I first stumbled upon her work. Her stories depict Muslim couples navigating love and sensuality within their unique cultural and social environment. They’re about sex, love, faith, passion… all the goodies you want in a romantic, erotic piece of art.
It’s with great excitement that I’m getting to participate in the book blitz for her latest release, Building on Broken Dreams. Here’s everything you need to know about this erotic suspense romance.
Building on Broken Dreams by Lyndell Williams
He’s everything she wants, but can she trust another man?
From award-winning writer and bestselling author Lyndell Williams, a steamy romance that tests the boundaries of faith and yearning.
If Maryam Avery stays in New York for one more day, she will die.
Trapped in an abusive relationship with the manipulative and cruel Raad, she can feel her life closing in around her. After he chases her from her home and family, Maryam flees to Philadelphia, searching desperately for a new beginning, something to help rebuild her spiritually and physically.
When she meets the mysterious Adam, things are thrown off-kilter. A successful businessperson with his own past that he is fleeing from, he is everything that Maryam wants. But can she trust another man?
Doubt gives way to desire. They find themselves in a whirlwind romance, and for once, it seems like everything will work out.
Until Raad turns up.
Release Date: 14 October 2020 Genre(s): Erotic romance, romantic suspense, erotic suspense, interracial romance, Muslim romance, BWWM romance
Maryam finished cooking and stood in the hall, holding a thermos of hot coffee in one hand and an egg sandwich half-wrapped in aluminum foil in the other. How angry was he? What is he going to do to her?
Adam strode toward her, grumbling and fumbling with his belt buckle. “Eight months of work shot to hell.” He stopped. His glower transformed into a grin that reached his hazel eyes. “What’s this?”
She plastered on a smile and batted her lashes at a speed almost matching the cadence of her heart. “I thought you could take it with you.”
His shoulders relaxed. He held her face in his hands. “You’re something else, Mary. You know—” he sprayed her lips with kisses “—I owe you a honeymoon. How about I arrange one?”
“I’d like that.”
He pressed her backward, pinning her between his body and the wall. The heat reignited and waved through her, burning away any fear or anxiety. He might have been angry, but not with her, and he would not take it out on her. She balanced the sandwich and mug in her hands. Her breathing got heavier with each nip to her neck. “Adam.”
He stepped back and reached into her robe. “Mary,” he groaned and yanked her panties from her hips while uttering a dua. Already moist white lace and satin fell to her feet. He propped against the wall across from her and ripped open his pants snap and zipper. “When you same my name like that, I got to have you.”
“But your friend.”
“Will wait.” His rough hands spanned up her thighs and clenched her rear, lifting her. His breath rushed into her ear. “I want you now. Do you want this D or not?”
His throbbing stiffness titillated her fiery folds. “Yes.” She locked her legs around his hips at her ankles and squeezed his broad shoulders as he stretched and filled her. “Adam, please.” She slowly blinked at the bobbing picture of Mecca hanging on the opposite as he bounced her on his stiffness. The movement of their bodies fed a mounting desire. Their first time together had been so tender. He had eased her fears and brought her to ecstasy. Now, the raw lust surging between them infused every inch of her in a way she had never felt before. It was all so glorious. She tucked her heels under his tense bottom, stilling his thrusts and unleashing a carnal shriek from deep inside. He soon roared in release and set her down. She panted, leaning against the wall and letting her legs drop.
He trailed pecks up her neck before stealing her air with a lingering kiss on her lips. He pinned her gaze while adjusting and closing his pants. “You don’t know what you do to me, Mary. I’ve never wanted someone so much.” He disappeared into the kitchen. Water ran for a moment before he came back, taking the thermos and crushed sandwich from her hands. “I’ll be back in time for the next prayer.” He offered salams and bit into it, strutting away and disappearing into the morning light, flooding the opened door.
About Lyndell Williams
Lyndell Williams is an award-winning writer and bestselling author. She is a cultural critic with a background in literary criticism specializing in romance. She is an editor, writing coach and mentor. She has been published in peer-reviewed journals and writes for multiple online publications.
When I read The Kiss Quotient last year, I was floored by how relatable Stella (the MC) was. I told my partner that if he wanted to understand how I think and feel, he needed to read this book. To my surprise, he did. He finished the whole book in a day.
And he liked it.
Romance is conventionally regarded as a “women’s genre”, often attracting the ridicule of many men (and women too) who see romance novels as formulaic, unnecessarily lusty, and poorly written. And, to be fair, maybe some books have rightfully earned those labels, thus painting the entire genre a frightful shade of blue in the eyes of the uninitiated.
So for me, as a writer of love stories, it’s extra exciting to see non-romance readers—especially men who don’t see themselves as readers who’d touch a romance novel—be open-minded and curious enough (both very attractive traits, in my opinion) to look past the stereotypes and find out for themselves.
Some fellow writers and readers helped me out with this post. They’ll jump in from time to time to share their thoughtful insights.
Painted with the blue brush
Romance is a huge genre, so based on probability alone, it’s reasonable to expect that low-quality or formulaic stories will work their way into the mix as writers and publishers strive to keep up with market demand. Though, personally, I take issue with the idea of stories being “low quality” or “formulaic”, because there’s more nuance to those labels than what they suggest.
When we call a story “low quality”, we need to consider the audience it’s intended for. You know that joke about buying your cat a fancy new toy only for her to play with the paper and ribbon it was wrapped in? If the audience doesn’t care about someone else’s definition of quality, then what good is it?
And then we get to “formulaic”, which is an interesting concept when you consider what defines a romance story. From About the Romance Genre (Romance Writers of America):
Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending… Romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any place or time, and have varying levels of sensuality—ranging from sweet to extremely hot. These settings and distinctions of plot create specific subgenres within romance fiction.
I know I’ve heard some guys criticise romances for the predictability of two people falling in love, encountering some conflict, and then ending up happily ever after. For a story to be called a romance (in commercial terms), it certainly must follow a particular form, but to consider that a formula is kind of like criticising the dictionary for being, predictably, a book full of words and definitions.
But what about the lusty part? Are the dissenters right about all romances being trashy sex books? Haha, nope!
They have this misconception that all romance is smut. I absolutely hate that word. Now there are some sub-genres of romance where the whole book revolves around sex, and that’s fine for some, but I think in general, romance is about the growth of a relationship. You take a ride of twists and turns, ups and downs, and navigate the pitfalls and struggles of being a couple.
Contemporary romances have generally moved away from dated stereotypes to more realistic and modern relationships, which can feature challenges such as addiction, single parenting or domestic violence. Throw in suspense or historical events and that makes it even better.
What if blue really is the warmest colour?
Bros can learn a lot about their partners by reading romance. It can be hard to express a thought or feeling or desire in a conversation, because sometimes there’s so much to say and the words don’t do it justice.
There are so many stereotypes and misunderstandings about “what women want” from sex and relationships. And in all fairness, the confusing and ambiguous circumstances we encounter in real life can inadvertently reinforce those misconceptions.
The biggest misconception romance has debunked is that only men are sexual beings. That they alone crave the pleasures of sex. This is SO untrue. It is more that many women were taught to let men take the lead and not share what they like and dislike. This is one of the things I love about romances. Many feature confident women. They tell men what they want and expect pleasure and satisfaction.
Romance also disproves the fallacy that most women want a man to protect them. There are those romances, but I have read so many where the woman wanted a partner, not a white knight. They want someone to share adventures and disasters with, not someone to take care of her and fix all her problems.
Even when it’s pure fantasy, romance novels offer readers an insight into real-world wants and needs. By and large, ones written by women will naturally feature a woman’s perspective on shedloads of desires that men don’t always see or understand.
I remember when I was a youngster, sneaking romance novels out of my auntie’s stash, reading a lot of too-good-to-be true sex scenes in romance novels. Like, there’s very little foreplay or the woman orgasms easily or it’s the couple’s first time together and they magically know each other’s physical hot buttons so sex is a total breeze. And I think that if you were reading those kinds of books and didn’t know any better, you’d end up with some unrealistic expectations for what sex should be like.
I feel compelled to mention here that it’s not all about the “woman’s perspective” as much as it is about the perspective of carefully crafted characters who have realistic human experiences. Due to the nature of this post, we’re looking at this through a heteronormatively gendered lens, but modern romance—and indeed modern fiction—is tending towards challenging those old boundaries.
People read romance because it represents their wants/needs/interests in life. Perhaps it doesn’t fit their life exactly—some people like different kinks/niches that they don’t have in their day to day life—but it’s something that fits them.
I think that it’d be great if we could normalize people not having to be sexual but can be romantic. Or that it’s all cool if someone isn’t into that sort of thing. That’s what I’d like. I’m just tired of seeing romance as a reason why you should buy something. It doesn’t get me as a consumer. I usually find romantic subplots pointless. I read for good plots and romance just distracts me completely.
That said, one of my favorite books of 2019 was Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. It’s got a LOT of romance. And I really, really loved it. It was just a great read with amazing characters and plot, so I was able to get into the romance.
For me personally, reading and writing romance gave me a safe space to understand and explore my own needs and feelings within a romantic and sexual framework. This may be the case for many readers from all walks of life who, much like me and perhaps you, turn to books and media to help them comprehend themselves and their place in the world, or to simply get away from a reality that doesn’t gel with them.
I believe there should be an equal mix of diversity as it fills our society. As a reader/writer I prefer the fictional fantasy of my characters. I read to escape the harsh reality of life, while for others, having characters that are disabled, characters with mental or chronic illness is cathartic. And I think those dynamics in the romance genre are changing to fit those needs.
I think diversity in romance is fantastic and much needed. I have read many and enjoyed them. There is the fun mix of relatability as a woman and also learning something new, reading a different life view than my own. I believe these stories are important for society. When we understand people’s struggles, we are able to offer kindness and empathy better.
I know what it’s like to grow up being an avid reader, yet never encountering a character who looked like me or had the same background as me or who went through similar experiences as me. It’s a really empty feeling. So whenever I read a book by an #OwnVoices author, it means so much. It means I feel represented in an industry—in a form of entertainment—that I felt excluded from for a very long time. Making even more readers and authors feel more welcome—making them feel like they are part of this world—is a good thing.
Guys, take note: reading romance makes you sexy
Not just because it makes you look open-minded and secure enough in your manliness to read “a girl’s book”. And not just because it shows you don’t pander to stereotypes and what the men who do might think of you.
As for men, I admire those reading romance. This is someone who won’t be told by society what he should like and read. He is confident enough to read what he enjoys. He is his own person, that is admirable.
It’s because what you learn from modern romance novels gives you access to the secrets. Yes, the very same secrets that self-identified “clueless men” claim to be clueless about. They’re hardly mysterious, but hard to discern if you grew up in an age where toxic masculinity was the norm. These are the highly prized tools of interpersonal decency and desirable indecency that would make an encounter with anyone something worth writing home about.
Honestly, if I ever saw a guy reading a romance novel, it would give me so many happy feels. Even though some people think of just sex when they think of romance novels, I think one of the most important things that romance novels do is show the importance of communication. Some of the major plot points in romance novels are when the main characters are working through misunderstandings and having breakthroughs about their needs and wants. All of those are types of communication. So in a very real way, romance novels are showcasing the importance of communication in sex and relationships, and show how literally everything stems from having healthy communication.
I believe, men reading romance novels would greatly benefit their current or future relationships and maybe bring back a spark to a stale one. Romance novels are about so much more than just mind blowing sex. In some cases, it can be a real learning guide on how to avoid the pitfalls we all spiral into during a relationship. Like how we tend to jump to conclusions, making the mistake our partner thinks like us. Or burying our feelings, letting resentment build, until we reach a serious crossroads. The underlining message in all romance literature is learning to take a leap of faith, trust, and communicating with our partners. Everyone can benefit from that.
Men, you’re getting an inside view of women’s hopes, desires, and wishes. If your wife, girlfriend, or lover has a favourite romance author, it would be a good idea to read one or two of their books. Romances range from sweet and sensual to BDSM. Find out which stories she loves to read and why. Not only will you learn more about her and therefore become closer. I’m willing to bet things will become more fun in the bedroom as these books will open up discussions of romantic and sexual expectations.
With all these benefits, I can’t help but wonder if there may be other factors behind some of the male ire for romance. I’m definitely not qualified to comment on men’s business, and perhaps that’s why I’m prone to being curious: could some of the negativity come from shame and fear?
Passage into manhood often exposes [boys] to humiliation during a period when openness and honesty aren’t allowed. They have to hide their feelings and natural instincts.
Romance novels centering on female experiences and sexuality typically come with a generous serve of emotional real-talk, often at point blank range. In my own experience, when I’ve been through my own phases of emotional fragility (a necessary part of growing up), I certainly found that kind of honesty and rawness extremely challenging and confronting.
Anecdotally, the men I know who have enthusiastically given romance a go (either to support a writer friend or to learn more about female perspectives) seem to demonstrate a lot of openness and comfort with their emotional and sexual selves—or at least a willingness to confront their discomforts and courageously own them.
Romantic literature can lead to improved sexual confidence, greater sexual activity and greater sexual experimentation. Surveys have demonstrated that many readers of the genre use romantic literature to foster a healthy monogamous relationship while vicariously fulfilling sexual desires. Women who read romance novels also reported that they did not negatively compare their real-life partners with fictional male protagonists or heroes. Which might be a fear some men harbour regarding romance novels.
Well, I do know one thing. Whenever my partner reads the romance books I read (or at least the parts that count), we both come away with a shared vocabulary and context for assessing and analysing our own relationship. We’re not immune to the problems that affect other relationships, and working through those problems—no matter what they are—always starts with the two of us on the same page.
This post was made possible by the experiences, knowledge and insights of the following people. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all <3
Sarah Smith, author of Faker, If You Never Come Back, and the hotly anticipated Simmer Down, coming out 13 October 2020. Sarah is a copywriter turned author who wants to make the world a lovelier place, one kissing story at a time.
“Romance is just plain fun to read. It’s incredibly entertaining to read about these characters as they go through relatable issues, read their banter, get excited when they flirt and fall in love, and of course get amped up when the steamy parts happen.”
Caidyn (he/him, aroace, trans), the book omnivore and licensed social worker behind @caidynsreads, who names his all-time favourite book as American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
“I’d love to see more accurate trans, aro, and ace rep in romance. I’d be more likely to read it if that happened.”
DK Marie, author of Fairy Tale Lies, Love Songs and Taste of Passion. They’re a mixture of heart, heat, and humour. Brimming with confident heroines and kind heroes, all living, loving, and lusting in and around her hometown of Detroit, Michigan.
“Romance readers are the people who either believe in the Happily-Ever-After; they see the good in a world often overflowing with sadness and hardship. Or they are the ones needing an escape, something to lighten the weight of the day-to-day thrown at us. I fall into this category. Romance makes me feel lighter, hopeful.”
A.R. Vagnetti, author of the Storm Series, transporting readers into a fantastical world of paranormal romance where bold Alpha males will sacrifice anything for the strong, deeply scared, kickass females they love. Her latest book, Forbidden Storm, is now available across major e-retailers.
“No matter how damaged or rough your past, you can overcome, deal with, or completely conquer your personal demons with the love, trust, and support of your chosen partner. I wholeheartedly believe in the love conquers all scenario.”
Writing for the Capri Luxe Hotels anthology got me thinking about the different relationships dynamics people live by—polyamory, swinging, “monogamish”, timezone rules, hall passes… and more. I’ve wondered what my view of relationships would be like now, had I grown up learning about these different arrangements without the social stigma applied by the conservative mainstream.
Anyway, you can understand how this book announcement for Mia’s Wedding caught my eye. A reverse harem, I thought 😏 Yes, I want to read this, because the theme is relevant to my ponderings right now.
I emailed Lucy Felthouse to ask whether it’s better to read Book One before getting stuck in. She says yes, but after reading that story excerpt, I’m tempted to do a cheeky and read Book Two first. Elias, Alex and Thomas sound spunky as (am I showing my age here?), and I just want to know if and how Mia sorts her shit out!
*adds to TBR*
*cries because TBR is already taller than I am*
Out Now—Mia’s Wedding (The Heiress’s Harem #2) by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #reverseharem #whychoose
Planning a wedding is stressful enough, and that’s without a harem of gorgeous men to deal with.
Mia Harrington has had a difficult time of it lately—her father’s illness and subsequent death, then finding out she must get married if she is to inherit what’s rightfully hers. Fortunately, she’s tough and resourceful, and has emerged relatively unscathed from this period, as well as finding herself a suitable husband.
However, things are far from simple. Mia might be planning to marry investment banker Elias Pym, but she’s also having a relationship with his best friend, Doctor Alex Cartwright, and is in love with her gardener, Thomas Walker. Add to that broken dates, flashy proposals, a sexy Asian tech billionaire, and a nosey housekeeper, and you’ve got a situation hectic enough to drive even the most capable person to distraction. Can Mia juggle her men, her job, and the wedding arrangements, or is her happily ever after over before it has even begun?
Mia’s Wedding is the second book in The Heiress’s Harem reverse harem romance series.
Mia locked up and put the key in her bag, then took Elias’s arm. They walked down the steps and out into the chilly January night to the waiting black cab.
“I’m afraid,” Elias said, once they were settled into the back of the car, “Alex isn’t coming.”
“What do you mean, he’s not coming?” she squeaked.
Elias looked apologetic, but gave a one-shouldered shrug. “There was an emergency at the hospital—as their nearest surgeon, he got called in. Couldn’t very well say no, could he?”
Mia shook her head and sagged back into the seat, her heart sinking to her stomach. “No, of course not. I’m very sorry he won’t be joining us, but although we’re scintillating company, we don’t count as a life or death situation.”
He reached out and squeezed her hand, then kept hold of it. “No, we certainly do not. I hope, though, that I’ll be entertainment enough for you by myself this evening.”
She squeezed his hand back, then leaned over and kissed his cheek, pulling in the scent of his delicious cologne at the same time. “I’m sure you will. Besides, this was part of what you two meant when you were talking about being able to give a woman the attention she deserves between you, wasn’t it? Alex unfortunately can’t make it, but because I’m dating—or whatever the hell we’re calling this—both of you, it means I’m not left high and dry. I’m sure at some point you’ll be the one who has to cancel. These things happen.”
With a smile, Elias said, “They sure do. Though I don’t really get emergencies at work—and if I do, they’re all about which person gets to line their pockets the most, rather than saving lives. But enough of that!” he added brightly, clearly eager to change the sore subject of his chosen career. Though she still didn’t understand why he was so embarrassed about it. And if he hated it so much, why was he still doing it? She wasn’t going to broach that particular topic, though, not tonight. She already had one potentially hairy subject to discuss.
But then how could she, now? How could she talk about the situation with Thomas without Alex present? She stifled a sigh. Fuck it. Looks like it’s going to have to wait.
“So,” she said, “where are we going?”
“You’ll have to wait and see,” he replied with a smirk.
She jabbed him in the ribs. “Seriously?”
“Yes, seriously. Patience, woman! We’ll be there in…” he peered out of the window, presumably to check where they were, “in less than ten minutes, traffic permitting.”
“Hmph.” She folded her arms and pouted. “Guess I’ll just have to wait, then.”
“Don’t sulk.” Elias tapped the end of her nose. “We haven’t seen each other in a little while, so I want smiles and laughter, not pouting. Even though I know you’re faking it.”
She gasped. “I never fake it!”
“I should hope not,” he shot back, his grin turning wicked. “My future wife deserves nothing but the best, and that includes orgasms. Real ones.”
Her tummy flip-flopped. Bloody hell, she’d almost forgotten about that. She’d been so focussed on working up to telling Elias and Alex they weren’t the only two men to be sharing her that there hadn’t been much capacity left for thinking about her impending wedding. But then, technically speaking, she wasn’t engaged yet. They’d discussed it and informally agreed to it, but there’d been no proposal, no acceptance, no ring.
There was plenty of time left for all that, though. If she and Elias had to grab a couple of witnesses and go to a registry office at the last minute, it would still count—her father hadn’t specified a type of ceremony, thankfully. But that wasn’t how she wanted to do things, and she suspected Elias wouldn’t be too keen on that idea, either.
“Ooh, your future wife, am I?” she teased, figuring that since the topic of Thomas was off the table, she might as well put the topic of their engagement on the table, instead.
Elias frowned. “Of course you are. I know we haven’t sorted a ring yet, but we still know we’re engaged…”
She shrugged, hoping it appeared more nonchalant to him than she actually felt. “Well, not exactly. We never made it official, did we? More of a loose verbal agreement.”
Elias groaned and screwed up his nose. “When you put it like that, it sounds bloody awful. I know to all intents and purposes it’s a practical arrangement, but I want it to be much more than that, Mia.” He cupped her cheek and brushed his thumb over her skin. “I’ve missed you.”
Warmth bloomed where he touched her, and radiated across her entire face and down her neck. She smiled and placed her hand over his. “I want it to be more, too. And I’ve missed you, as well. It’s been a long month, hasn’t it?”
Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller), The Persecution of the Wolves, Hiding in Plain Sight and The Heiress’s Harem series. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 170 publications to her name. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. Subscribe to her newsletter and get a free eBook: http://www.subscribepage.com/lfnewsletter