I live in Britain, an island that is apparently hollow. It’s riddled with cave systems of all kinds and new discoveries still happen regularly. In 2014, a caver was hit by a rock fall in the Riesending cave system in Germany. Stranded a thousand metres beneath the earth’s surface, it took 200 volunteer rescuers to get him out. The story made international news and the sport known as caving or potholing – or spelunking – was forced above ground.
I always wanted to include the drama of a caving scene in one of my books and Testing Lysander provided the perfect opportunity.
So, why do it? Why risk your life wriggling through the confines of rock in absolute darkness, crawling in squalid mud and water, where flooding and loose rocks threaten every move? In Testing Lysander, Brock and Kyle have to do it out of necessity, but it is clear that it’s something Brock, an ‘extreme’ photographer, loves.
In my younger days, growing up within easy reach of the cave systems below the Mendip Hills, I did some potholing. I wanted to reflect some of my own memories of inky blackness, tight spaces and the crushing claustrophobia that comes from having tonnes of rock above your head. The trips I made were on well-explored routes. I wanted to put my characters in a situation where they were totally reliant on each other, going into unexplored territory (I’m avoiding the obvious Star Trek quote here).
The parallel with Brock and Kyle’s journey into a D/s relationship is clear. Each takes great trust, inner strength and no small amount of courage. There is also the thrill and exhilaration of exploring new places together; the emotional highs and lows of extreme experiences; adrenalin, racing pulses and pounding hearts; the climactic jubilation of achieving a seemingly impossible goal. These are difficult things to get across on a page. I hope I’ve gone some little way to reflecting the sights, sounds and feelings of the underground world and that readers can feel the fear and excitement alongside Brock and Kyle.
Excerpt from Testing Lysander:
Brock headed toward the smallest opening in the back wall of the cavern. He eyed the tiny tunnel and grinned. Kyle didn’t come across as nearly so enthusiastic.
“It’s called a wormhole,” Brock said.
“Looks more like a fucking sewer drain to me,” Kyle complained. The black entrance stood only two and a half feet high. Brock crouched and shone his head torch down the tube.
“With a backpack on, I estimate it will only just be possible to crawl through these holes. It’s a good job we’re traveling light,” Brock said. He got down on his belly and squirmed into the darkness.
Kyle stood with his hands on his hips as his last view of Brock’s boots disappeared. After a couple of minutes he heard Brock shout back to him that he was good to go.
“Just wonderful.” Kyle got down on his knees and gave it another examination. It didn’t get any better from his staring at it. His pack was bigger than Brock’s so he pushed it into the hole, then followed Brock’s example and slid forward with his arms outstretched, shoving the bag in front of him.
“Fuck this is tight.” Rock pressed down all around. He edged ahead. He cursed as he scraped his wrist on a jagged edge and twisted his upper body. His helmet ground against the rock.
“I fucking hate small holes,” he muttered, clawing his way on. “I feel like a piece of that spiral pasta.” He wriggled his hips, losing another shaving of skin. His bag was yanked free, then he popped out of the narrow hole into a larger cavern. He rolled onto his back and looked up into Brock’s grinning face.
“Fusilli. That’s the proper name for that kind of pasta. And I thought you loved fucking small holes.” Brock put Kyle’s pack down next to him.
“Cheeky brat. My shoulders are about a foot wider than yours. I’ve lost skin in there.”
“Aw, poor baby. I think I may have broken a nail, so we’re both equally battered.”
“You realize there’s nowhere to run down here, don’t you?” Kyle rolled onto his knees and stood. “The locals call that passage the throat of the snake and we have to go back through there to get home. Some days, I hate my job.” He stretched with a groan. “I suppose you love it, don’t you?”
Brock nodded. “Don’t hate me.” His grin was enormous.
Blurb for Testing Lysander:
The newest addition to the What’s his Passion? imprint.
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Extreme photographer Lysander Brock is accustomed to challenging places and situations but nothing can prepare him for the journey that his dominant lover, Kyle Dawson, takes him on.
A commission to photograph the cloud forests of the Colombian Andes becomes the cover for a dangerous mission to expose a terrorist group. Kyle and Lysander must negotiate treacherous terrain, a hazardous climb and unexplored caves to achieve their goal.
When Lysander is captured and tortured, he has no expectations of rescue. He understands that his life comes second to the mission but Kyle has no intention of leaving his beautiful, submissive lover in the hands of a madman. Kyle can deal with the intense pressure of fighting lethal enemies but the guilt of pushing Lysander into a life he never asked for is much harder to accept.
Lysander and Kyle journey together into a life of adventure, Dominance and submission, and an uncertain future.
Publisher’s Note: This book is a sequel to Picturing Lysander and is best read in order.
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About LM Somerton:
Lucinda lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.
She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and some not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.
Trailer for Testing Lysander:
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