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In writing “Calling the Dragons Home,” I had to use romance conventions I’m not accustomed to using in most of my erotic short stories. In particular, a general sense of sexual innocence, although it was borne more out collective ignorance of the State and of repression rather than choice. Sometimes this ignorance was hard to work with: How do you write a person ignorant of sexual word and deed, someone who doesn’t even know arousal or how to describe it? How do you write with full erotic breadth about a sexually awakening woman who doesn’t even know what her body parts are, much less what can be done with them?

Even as she spoke, she knew she should call for the servants, who would notify the Enforcers again. Not only was she addressing someone to whom she was not allowed to speak, but he was in her bedroom, and no man but her father could enter the Queen’s bedroom. It was improper, indecent, indecorous, even dangerous. But somehow, all she could do was rest her head on her arms and meet his gaze, aware of several things at once — the gentle wave of her body from her neck, down her back and over her legs, the burn of pain against the cool cloth of her night linens, and the return of the heat to her face. But she could also sense a queer heat in her gaze as well, matched by the quiet, deliberate stillness of the man across the room.