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Mitzi Szerato’s Thrones of Desire is coming out later this month, Sept. 18, a collection of erotic sword-and-sorcery fantasy stories.

My contribution, “Eyekeeper,” revolves around a pragmatic, power-hungry enchantress whose alliance with a prison warden she seduced into helping her steal her talisman back from a rival sorcerer backfires, since said prison warden was in the rival’s pocket the whole time. Never fuck with an enchantress. They don’t die easily, and they have no issues with blackmailing a closet case and his lover.

I love morally gray characters, and Lydia is most assured gray. It would be easy to paint her as a wicked witch, but she really isn’t. She’s powerful, ambitious, and perhaps a bit of a sociopath, but she isn’t evil. Which means following in her footsteps a lot more fun, since she doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘scruples.’

“Really, Lydia. What did you think you were going to do with the treasure? Bribe the ferryman to take you the other direction?” Hann asked. Slowly, he slid the bodice down and loosened the final ties so that the material of her dress slid down her legs. There was a heavy clink as the full pocket-lined skirts fell to the stone floor.

Lydia said nothing, nor did her smile falter. She could see sweat forming above his lip as his gaze travelled from the ridge of her collarbone down to the shapes of her breasts under the thin chemise. Her remaining clothing was silent as he moved his hands over the full arms, down the back, against the skirts, now pressing against her firm thighs.