Marsha Canham's Blog

November 6, 2011

Sample Sunday, Ruth Harris

Filed under: Caesars Through the Fence — marshacanham @ 1:22 pm

I’m back with another Sample Sunday author. This week’s guest blogger is Ruth Harris, one of the wonderful authors I’ve met through BacklistEbooks.com…terrific website, check it out if you’re looking for older books from some of your favorite authors…including *me* (toss in a big cheesy grin there).  On another personal note, the knee surgery went well. It was sort of a Gilligan’s Island adventure for a while…the one hour stay in the recovery room turned into five, but I’ve emerged hobbling and almost smiling. They will, however, have to catch me with a net before I get the actual replacement done *snort*

On to today’s guest blog, welcome Ruth.

I’m a New York Times bestselling author whose books (with Random House, Simon & Schuster, and St.Martin’s Press) I have sold millions of copies in hardcover and paperback, been translated into 19 languages, published in 25 countries and selected by the Literary Guild and Book-of-the-Month Club.

I started out in publishing right after I graduated from college. My first job was as secretary to a textbook editor, an unpromising start if there ever was one, but I was soon promoted to copyediting—much more interesting.
In the years that followed—the years when editors ran publishing—I worked at Dell and Bantam and at Lancer, a successful but now defunct (not because of me!) independent mass market paperback publisher where I wallowed in the joys of genre publishing in its heyday.
I’ve been a copywriter, assistant editor, editor, editor-in-chief and, eventually, publisher (at Kensington).
I’ve also written more magazine articles than I can remember—and a few paperback originals even I’ve forgotten.
I live in New York City with my husband, writer Michael Harris,  author of Always On Sunday: An Inside View of Ed Sullivan, The Beatles, Elvis, Sinatra and Ed’s Other Guests and The Atomic Times: My H-Bomb Year at the Pacific Proving Ground. Both are available in Kindle editions.

Recently, I’ve been acquiring the rights to my backlist, and re-issuing them as ebooks. You can now buy The Last RomanticsHusbands and LoversDecadesLove And Money and Modern Women for your Kindle, Nook, iPad or other ereader—with more to follow. You can find them at my author page at Amazon.com.

Most recently, I co-authored a thriller, HOOKED, with Michael and published it directly to Kindle.

Contact me by e-mail at:  rca (dot) harris (at) gmail (dot) com
Follow me on twitter: @RuthHarrisBooks

Here’s the set up:
HOOKED is a story of sex, greed, ambition, murder, revenge and assassination — and of, Gavin Jenkins, a gifted doctor from a small town in Kentucky. Dr. Jenkins’ miracle treatments give patients everything they want:  youth, beauty, radiant vitality and sexual potency.  No wonder he is worshiped by the celebrities who become his patients.  No wonder his influence runs from the private island of an enigmatic Turkish billionaire with a bloody secret to the crimson-draped bedroom of a depraved, Mid-eastern Prince;  from the private dressing rooms of world-famous artists to the heights of international society and the inner sanctums of the White House itself.

Here’s the excerpt:

Sadun’s darkened bedroom was as grotesque as its inhabitant. Floor-length crimson satin curtains hung at the windows. They were trimmed with gold tassels and tied back with gold braid, under which another dense quantity of curtain, this time sheer cream-colored silk, obliterated the windows. No ray of sunlight entered the room.
A gilt Empire-style dressing table was strewn with combs, brushes, bottles of tonics and lotions, and vials of perfume. A huge bed was made with crimson sheets and matching satin-tufted pillows. Ermine throws half-hid a satin bedspread of the same crimson. Four black-and-white zebra skin rugs decorated the polished parquet floor.
In spotlighted wall niches stood statuettes of men and women and children and animals in every sexual combination conceivable. The furnishings were completed by a mirror, ten feet square, angled across from the bed to reflect every activity that occurred on its crimson and ermine expanse.
Gavin entered Sadun’s room at eight the next morning. Sadun’s bloated shape, clothed in silk leopard-patterned pajamas, was partially covered by a silk sheet. A cone of musky incense smoldered on the bedside table.
Sadun watched as Gavin opened his black bag and drew various liquids into a hypodermic needle.
“Your arm,” instructed Gavin.
Sadun meekly rolled up the leopard-patterned pajama sleeve and submitted.
Gavin administered the injection and noted that Sadun’s reactions were the same as Gail’s and almost every other patient. The gooseflesh, the sharp inhalation followed by the complete exhalation, the spasmodic jerk of the spine, the subsequent relaxation and the look of satiated lust
“What was that?” asked Sadun from his euphoric haze.
“Willpower,” said Gavin.

Every afternoon X placed a call to Lydia with a summary of the day’s events. At first Gavin thought it was her voluptuousness that appealed to Nicky. She had heavy, round breasts and an animal way of moving the lower part of her body when she walked.
He soon realized, though, that Kiskalesi’s interest was in quite another area. X was his watchdog, efficient, discreet, and omnipresent. She was Nicky’s spy, Sadun’s jailer and Gavin’s supervisor and she made no secret of her role.
“You know everything, don’t you?” Gavin asked.
X smiled unpleasantly. “The spies to guard against,” she said, “are the ones who make a secret of what they do.”

A few nights later, just after midnight, there was a knock on Gavin’s door. He was staying in the room next to X’s, which, in turn, was adjacent to Sadun’s own grotesque room.
“Come in,” said Gavin.
The paneled door opened, and a girl, perhaps thirteen, entered the room and closed the door behind her. She had clear olive skin and her brown eyes were outlined with kohl. As she moved wordlessly to Gavin’s bed, she pulled up the skirt of her gauzy caftan to expose a shaved pudenda.
“Excellency,” she said. “You command—”
“Who are you?” Gavin looked past the girl toward the closed door.
“Seema,” she said. “Rudy send me—”
She moved to get into the bed with Gavin but he stopped her with a gesture. He got out of bed and crossed the room, his footsteps silenced by the thick pile of the lush carpeting. He took the gilded doorknob in both hands, ripped the door open and found himself face to face with Rudy Sarvo.
“Never again,” he warned. “Do you understand me?”
“Next time I send perhaps a boy?” Rudy asked
Gavin shook his head. “There will be no ‘next time,’” he said and told the girl to return to her room.
Rudy shrugged and fished a piece of food from between his teeth with his tongue, extracted it with the two first fingers of his right hand, put it back into his mouth, and swallowed.
“There is always a next time,” Rudy Sarvo said as he turned to leave. “Always.”

“You American puritans,” Sadun sneered the next morning.
He was in the enormous sunken white-marble bathtub and Seema, the girl who had been sent to Gavin’s room the previous evening, was bathing him with jasmine soap and a large sponge.
“I’m surprised any American babies ever get born, you’re such a nation of prudes,” he continued. “Ouch!” he bellowed, interrupting himself. “You got soap in my eye.”
He struck the girl in the face, so hard a red welt appeared on her cheek.
“Clumsy ox!” he said and slapped her again.
Gavin stepped forward and pushed the girl back from the edge of the tub. Then he slapped Sadun and, using both hands, held his head under water until Sadun stopped struggling.
He came up, gasping for air.
“You’re too old to be washed. You can wash yourself,” said Gavin. He dismissed the girl and flipped the wet sponge at Sadun.
“But I’ve never washed myself,” Sadun whined.
“You’ve never done a goddamn thing for yourself,” Gavin said.
Sadun didn’t read for himself. He had an enormous morocco-bound library of pornography that he had read to him. Sadun didn’t bathe himself, he didn’t dry himself, he didn’t dress himself. Gavin was amazed that he even bothered to put a spoon to his mouth to feed himself.
“I’m a royal prince,” said Sadun. “You can’t talk to me like that.”
“I can and I will,” Gavin said and threw the bar of soap into the huge tub where it promptly sank to the bottom.
“You lost my soap.”
“Find it—”
“Rudy!” shrieked Sadun. “Rudy!”
In an instant, Rudy Sarvo was at the door.
“Excellency?” asked the pimp.
“Make him go away,” pouted Sadun. “He won’t let Seema give me my bath—”
Rudy headed toward Gavin but as he approached, Gavin grabbed him by both arms, spun him around, and propelled him out the room. Then he shut the door and locked it.
Without a word, Gavin let himself out the other door of the bathroom and locked it from the outside, leaving the man who could claim the throne of Egypt alone in his bath, unable even to find the soap for himself.
As Gavin headed down the corridor to the curved stairs that led to the ground floor, he heard his Royal Highness.
“What about my shot?” he shouted. “Where’s my shot?”

“Nicky said to tell you that he’s very pleased,” X told Gavin three weeks later. Subsisting on Gavin’s shots and beef bouillon, Sadun had lost thirty-five pounds. “He’s particularly pleased with Sadun’s mental attitude—”
“As he loses more weight, he’ll improve even more,” said Gavin.
“He’s becoming a different man—”
“He’s improving in spite of Rudy Sarvo,” Gavin said. “He smuggles pastry in to Sadun.”
“I’ve told Nicky you’ve had trouble with Rudy—”
“It would be better for Sadun if Rudy weren’t around—”
“The less you interfere with Rudy Sarvo, the safer you’ll be,” warned X. “Things are not necessarily what they seem.”

 

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