When Carina asked me to do more stories like my Facets of Passion series, only as full-length erotic romance novels, I knew right away what the first story would be.
I’d long been following the travails of Anita Sarkeesian. For those who aren’t familiar with her story, here’s a concise summary from Wikipedia:
In 2012, Sarkeesian was targeted by an online harassment campaign following her launch of a Kickstarter project to fund the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. At the same time, supporters donated over $150,000 to the project, far beyond the $6,000 she had sought. The situation was covered extensively in the media, placing Sarkeesian at the center of discussions about misogyny in video game culture and online harassment.
I was one of those Kickstarter supporters, not because I have much investment in the topic itself—I don’t play video games—but because I believe profoundly in a person’s right to research what’s important to them. That’s a basic human right.
More, I wanted to explore a heroine who’d go through this kind of thing, what kind of courage and resilience that would require. My heroine in Going Under, Emily, is a video game designer who runs afoul of this kind of misogynistic online harassment. Unlike Sarkeesian, however, Emily collapses under the pressure. She’s wicked smart, amazingly creative and has few social skills. Her career and marriage destroyed, she uses her hacking genius to create a new undercover identity and re-emerges as Phoenix, a reclusive and male video game designer.
What’s erotic about this, you may ask?
I figured what a woman like Emily—isolated, wounded, a literal hermit if not a virtual one—needs most to heal is human contact. Profound, hot and wildly sexual human contact. With a guy who is the opposite of the trolls who broke her spirit.
That’s where Fox comes in. He’s an investigative reporter determined to uncover the identity of the enigmatic game designer, Phoenix. He’s undercover, pretending to be a novelist. An ambitious, driven and sexual man, he decides very quickly that his lovely and skittish neighbor Emily is the perfect candidate to absorb his restless energy as he completes the painstaking work of waiting for Phoenix to make a mistake and reveal himself. His relentless curiosity and determined seduction are what can crack Emily’s careful walls.
His glad-hearted, playful and open sexuality is what allows her to heal.
Fox brings to Emily the kind of internal resilience she’d been missing. Of course, without realizing it’s her, he may also be the one to bring her career crashing down once again. That’s what I wanted to find—what it would take for someone to withstand that kind of horrific online harassment.
I’m not sure I could take it. But, wow, I admire women like Anita and Emily.
The official blurb!
Knowing all too well the damage online trolls can inflict, game designer Emily Bartwell takes privacy seriously. Living in solitude and working remotely under a male alias gives her a sense of security. The sexy writer renting the house next door ignites desires she’d forgotten she had, and when he invites her to play games of a very different sort, Em is ready and willing. Even if it means breaking all her own rules to abide by his.
Undercover tech reporter Fox Mullins is so close to the biggest scoop of his career: finding the elusive programmer Phoenix. An increasingly erotic adventure with his reserved but passionate new neighbor is the ideal way to heat up the chilly Pacific Northwest nights as he tracks the brilliant gamer.
At first Fox is happy to help Em explore her newly awakened kinky side, no holds barred, no strings attached. But as they push the limits of intimacy, both physical and emotional, Fox discovers he’s not the only one keeping secrets. And revealing hers may mean betraying the one woman who embodies everything he desires.
Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.
Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, will hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.
She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.