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A Kink Without a Name
A Seditious Affair, set in 1819-1820, is a romance featuring Dominic Frey, a gay submissive with a humiliation kink, and—
/screeching needle-on-record noise/
No. Dominic is not a gay submissive with a humiliation kink. And the reason he isn’t is that those were not things that existed in 1820.
I don’t mean that Dominic’s feelings and desires didn’t exist, obviously. What I mean is that there was no word for ‘gay’ (in the modern sense of homosexual man). ‘Sodomite’ meant someone who engaged in anal or oral sex; ‘molly’ indicated a set of effeminate behaviours including sex with men. But there wasn’t a general concept of, or label for, men who were romantically and sexually attracted to other men. People were groping their way to the idea. ‘Sapphist’ or ‘tribadist’ indicated women who loved women. But there simply wasn’t yet a framework of thought that encompassed a gay male identity in a descriptive rather than abusive way.
And this is important. How do you fit into a world that doesn’t have a concept for who and what you are? God knows it’s hard enough now for trans and genderqueer and asexual and bisexual people, constantly having to define themselves and assert their existence. What do you do when you don’t even have a name?
Equally, we know that what we’d call BDSM was popular in the Georgian period. There’s plenty of flagellation porn to prove it. But ‘sadist’ and ‘masochist’ didn’t become general concepts till the 1880s, a century after the Marquis de Sade did his thing. And it’s a lot easier to explain your desires when you have words you can use, and concepts that other people have heard of, and the knowledge that you aren’t the only one who feels like that. Let alone the internet or a reference library to find advice and support.
In my trilogy, Dominic and his best friend Richard were boyhood lovers who broke up over Dominic’s sexual needs. Richard has no framework for understanding how or why Dominic wants what he does; he sees only abuse, and finds the idea horrifying. Dominic doesn’t understand either, and to make matters worse, he’s deeply conservative in every area except the bedroom. His whole world, his best friend, his own head all tell him that there’s something profoundly wrong with what he wants.
Enter Silas Mason, radical. Silas’s views are so extreme that you’d crick your neck trying to see them. He doesn’t believe in God, king, social order, marriage, or hierarchy. As far as he’s concerned, how and with whom people have sex is a matter of individual liberty: it’s your body, do what you want with it. He’s the one man who simply accepts Dominic’s desires as they are–and Dominic as he is.
Pity that it’s Dominic’s job to hunt Silas down…
KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.
Silas Mason has no illusions about himself. He’s not lovable, or even likable. He’s an overbearing idealist, a Radical bookseller and pamphleteer who lives for revolution . . . and for Wednesday nights. Every week he meets anonymously with the same man, in whom Silas has discovered the ideal meld of intellectual companionship and absolute obedience to his sexual commands. But unbeknownst to Silas, his closest friend is also his greatest enemy, with the power to see him hanged—or spare his life.
A loyal, well-born gentleman official, Dominic Frey is torn apart by his affair with Silas. By the light of day, he cannot fathom the intoxicating lust that drives him to meet with the Radical week after week. In the bedroom, everything else falls away. Their needs match, and they are united by sympathy for each other’s deepest vulnerabilities. But when Silas’s politics earn him a death sentence, desire clashes with duty, and Dominic finds himself doing everything he can to save the man who stole his heart.
Advance praise for A Seditious Affair
“This book is so good I read it in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. K. J. Charles has long been one of my favorite authors, and this book doesn’t disappoint. A Seditious Affair is a beautiful love story interwoven with the realism of the political unrest of the time—another winner from K. J. Charles!”—USA Today bestselling author Carole Mortimer