Blog Tour: "Venomous" Excerpt - Fiona Paul - Venom

Welcome to our stop on the Venom blog tour for Fiona Paul debut YA novel. The tour is hosted by Paper Lantern Lit. The blog consist of each stop containing a piece of "Venomous". Venomous is a short story prequel before Venom takes place. 

Fiona Paul Links: WebGoodreadsFacebookTwitter 

BIO: Fiona Paul lives in the Midwest but travels a lot since she can’t breathe if she spends too much time away from the ocean. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in psychology and spent a year teaching English in Seoul, Korea while she was deciding what she wanted to be when she grew up. Answer: everything. In addition to being a teacher and a writer, she’s also worked as a sauté cook, sporting goods manager, veterinary assistant, and registered nurse. When she’s not working, you can usually find her kayaking, reading, or helping turtles cross the road. Her future goals include diving with great white sharks and writing more books, not necessarily in that order. Venom is her first novel.

A Secrets of the Eternal Rose short story
By Fiona Paul

The year is 1600 and the streets of Venice, Italy are ripe with intrigue and danger. In this introduction to the world of Venom, eighteen-year-old Mariabella has recently elevated herself from the rank of common prostitute to the status of courtesan, a respected high-class escort for those men in Venetian society who can afford them. Mariabella steps out to attend a party on the arm of her powerful new patron, certain that the night will be filled with glamour, secrets, and adventure.

If you missed the last part of the story, check it out on Oh! Paper Pages.


His mouth is fire along the ridge of muscle in my neck. I feel his teeth explore the skin of my throat. “How long do you expect to stay with him?” he asks.

I answer without thinking, “As long as he’ll have me, I suppose.”

Batista’s body goes tense. He leans back. “I thought you said you were only with him in order to improve your situation.”

My mind is still hot and foggy. I’m not sure what I did wrong. “I am.”

Batista twists around into a sitting position. “Surely it won’t take so long to improve your situation.”

That depends on how much I want to improve it. I rise up onto my elbows. “All of a sudden you’re jealous?” I ask teasingly. “You knew what I was when you got involved with me.”

“You told me you were born into it,” he says, his voice hard as stone. “I assumed you would leave the trade behind once you could support yourself.”

“But if I leave the trade behind, then I’ll no longer be able to support myself,” I say calmly. Batista frowns. I reach out to stroke his face, but he jerks away, as if he can’t bear the thought of touching me.

“Were you thinking we might be together?” I ask softly. “Perhaps we might, someday,” I say haltingly. It is a lovely fantasy. But not now. Not for a long time. That’s not the way the world works.”

Batista’s mouth tightens. “So then you’re just like all the rest.” He looks different than I’ve ever seen him. Angrier. Colder.

Like a stranger.

“Am I?” I sit up, feeling irritated. The wind is biting through the layers of my dress again, and I’m sorry I came. I can’t even reach the ground without Batista’s help.

“You’re just like her.” He clutches at his stomach as if he might be sick.

Something in his voice makes fear snake up my spine. “Just like who?”

But he keeps talking without even acknowledging my inquiries. “All this time I thought perhaps I had been wrong for judging. But you are as filthy as she was.” He spits over the side of the crypt. “Another common whore.”

Without thinking, I lash out. My palm connects squarely with the side of his face. “You have no right,” I say. “Men are born into lives full of possibility. Women like me are born to be either nuns or whores. I made the choice that was best for me.”

Batista raises one hand to his cheek, exploring the place where I hit him with his fingertips. Then he turns to me, eyes practically black. “How dare you touch me?”

Without warning, he strikes me back. The impact snaps my entire torso sideways. He reaches out and grabs my hair, yanking my head back so that all I see is hazy sky, the faint sliver of moon behind the clouds. His grip is so strong that if I struggle against it he might wrench my head from my body.

“Apologize,” he hisses.

He loosens his grasp enough so that I can turn my head and see the madness reflected in his eyes.

“Mi dispiace,” I stammer, trying my best to sound contrite. I have seen angry men before, but never like this. My mind is racing. I’m not that high off the ground—maybe eight feet or so. I can jump down, run to the door of the old villa, and beg admittance. They might not let me in, but if I awaken the household, it will discourage Batista from pursuing me. All I need is a tiny head start. I let a tiny whimper escape my lips. “Please don’t be upset with me.”

He relaxes just slightly. Immediately, I lunge at him, slamming the side of my hand into the spongy area beneath his chin. My mother taught me that too. You don’t last long as a hired woman if you don’t know how to protect yourself.

Gagging, he stumbles backward and I leap from the roof of the crypt, landing hard on the wet grass below me. The impact moves through my whole body like a lightning strike, stealing my breath and rendering me paralyzed for a few precious seconds. I flee toward the graveyard gate.

But I make it only a handful of strides before he grabs me.


For the final part of the story, visit Paper Lantern Lit on Monday, 10/29.

Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1
Author: Fiona Paul
Reading Level: YA
Released: October 30th 2012
Publisher: Philomel
Available: Amazon • BN.comIndieBound

Summary: (from goodreads) Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for being part of the tour! i can't believe it's almost over :)


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