Elise Artez – The Minotaur’s Mate: Claimed (Review, Excerpt, Interview, & Giveaway)

The Minotaur’s Mate: Claimed by Elise Artez

Series: The Minotaur’s Mate #1
Source: Review by Request
Copy Provided by the Author
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

When Kiryn is caught stealing, she’s forced to work off her debt by servicing half-man, half-bull monsters: Minotaur. But when she meets the quiet and honorable minotaur Rogan, she’s inexplicably drawn to him–and drawn to the idea of being taken by him.

Will her desire for Rogan overcome her fear of becoming a beastman’s mate?

Warning: This 18,000 word erotic novella contains graphic depictions of self-pleasure, manual stimulation, a massive size difference and rough sex with a mythical creature. Adults only!

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A Great start to a fabulously naughty Fantasy series!

This was what her life had come to. What running away and striking out on her own had won her. A shock collar around her neck and a beast from her mother’s silly fairytales, standing before her, very ready to fuck. Regardless of what the woman had said, this creature was clearly more beast than man, at least at the moment.”

For Kiryn, Minotaur were the beasts of fairytales – stories meant to frighten young women – but the scary stories her mother once told her don’t hold a candle to the terror of being nose-to-nose with one.

This story was unapologetically sexy and set everything up for the rest of the series. it was easy to get sucked into this fantasy world, and I’m excited to find out what happens next!

Kiryn was a runaway looking to steal enough to pay for her next meal when everything swiftly unraveled. She was in the process of taking a golden idol when she was captured and imprisoned by the women who run a mysterious ranch. When Kiryn fled the oppressive life of high-society and arranged marriages, she had no idea that she would be trading one type of servitude for another…

One far more dangerous…
One which will change her life forever.

Now she must work to earn her freedom – harvesting the Essence of the Minotaur – which the ranch women sell for unknown reasons. The mythical creatures (who are half-man / half-bull) are enslaved on the ranch as well, handled and mistreated by their owners, forced to ejaculate at their handlers’ will.

One Minotaur seems separated from the rest – Rogan is treated far differently than the others. Kiryn doesn’t have to service him as she must the other Minotaur… She doesn’t fear him, and seems oddly drawn toward him…

As it turns out, Rogan & Kiryn were meant to come together on this ranch.

There’s quite a few taboo topics covered in this short story – sexual slavery, dub-con, and danger.

Minotaur are more beast than man… They’re huge and passionate… And when a Minotaur finds his mate, you better move out of the way!

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Excerpt:

He approached, which was far from the reaction she expected. Despite herself she watched the pull of his muscles and the power he exuded from such a simple action. She’d be lying if she said the same dream—the same fantasy—of that first night hadn’t crossed her mind a time or two since. 

But they were past that point. Whether he wanted her or not, he wasn’t going to make the move to actually take her. And she wasn’t interested in being placated. She could still recall the feeling of him, hot and ready, pressed so close and yet a far cry from what she actually wanted. 

Out of everything she’d experienced, it was the worst kind of torture. 

She could smell him again, that hint of musk coming through, stronger than before. It should be revolting, she thought. Thick and pungent and far more animal than man. But good sense seemed to shut down when the body was aroused, and she felt a flush run through her. 

“In the past month I have slept but have not rested. I eat but still hunger. Solitude feels wasted. Pointless.” 

Well that was an abrupt change of subject. To what, she didn’t know. It sounded like something he’d read somewhere. A book of sonnets, perhaps. The idea of a minotaur reading a book of sonnets made her want to laugh and she knew she should be smirking at the absurdity of his words to begin with. But somehow she just wished to know what was behind those words and her brow rose in question. 

“My people believe that each bull has one true mate. That he will not have strong sons until he has found her. And that attempting to deny this bond is the most futile sort of resistance. It exists until it is consummated.” 

It was a nice story—a bit sappy for her tastes—but she didn’t know why he was telling it. He’d taken Vaia’s mother for his mate, hadn’t he? But she’d died during childbirth. So according to minotaur logic, she wasn’t his “true mate.” 

Her eyes widened when it finally clicked. 

“You don’t think—” She laughed, a nervous sound. “Oh no. I–I’m not your mate. You were lonely. I was lonely. End of story.” 

She’d just gotten away from being tied to someone for the rest of her life. She damn well wasn’t going to be tied to a minotaur who preferred to talk at her rather than to her, who she didn’t know a thing about other than the fact that he tried to fix a problem and it didn’t work out so well. A minotaur who had the most flexible backbone she’d ever seen. 

A minotaur who was still approaching, until his large hands rested on the walls behind her, the heat of his body very clear and very intoxicating. 

“You want me to prove you wrong,” he rumbled. One of his hands moved from the wall, dipping under her shirt and smoothing over her stomach, the leathery pads a bit rougher than Mykos’. “You want me to take you. You said so yourself.”

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Interview with Elise Artez:

If you were to describe your book in only one word, what would it be?
Beastly 😀

What would you say inspired you to write it?
I’ve always been a fan of stories that involve half-man, half-beast creatures, especially when there’s some sort of romance going on. I think it’s just something about the perceived danger and the expectations you’d have for that creature, and the idea that love (and lust!) can break down those barriers.

What was the source of inspiration for Kiryn?
Kiryn is my ideal fantasy heroine. She’s chained to a life she doesn’t want, but instead of whining about it, she does something. She’s got an attitude on her that gets her in trouble, she’s cunning, and she has just enough of that arrogance from her upbringing to make her interesting to me.

The big draw, though, is that it just wasn’t something I was seeing in the genre. The majority of monster erotica I’d read then mainly focused on the forbidden aspect and the draw of a heroine who gets lost in the woods or fiddles with something she shouldn’t and encounters some big, powerful creature who won’t take no for an answer.

Don’t get me wrong–sometimes those stories hit the spot. I just wanted to read something a bit different, so I decided to write it.

What about Rogan and the Minotaur Ranch?
Ok, confession time. I’m a huge gaming nerd, and I’ve played MMOs since 1999. I’ve played WoW off and on since it came out in 2004, and fell in love with the Tauren race when I started playing Horde. I was on a roleplaying server, and Rogan was originally based on one of the Tauren I played, though he turned out quite a bit different.

The ranch was based off of a few things. The most practical reason is I needed Kiryn to get stuck somewhere, and I didn’t want to use the traditional labyrinth setting. I thought it would be interesting if the minotaur were being harvested for something, and, well… the “what” seemed pretty obvious in a kinky little erotica tale. 😉

What kind of research did you do to prepare for writing this book?
Mostly it was research into the different minotaur myths and the representation of the minotaur and various bull gods. I read a bunch of monster stories, as well, and took note of what I liked and what readers seemed to like.

What made you decide to become an Author?
I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a kid when I wrote a silly little story (with illustrations!) and got heaps of praise for it. Eventually I started writing short stories and really trying to learn the craft. I spent a lot of time in school writing instead of paying attention (whoops…).

Writing’s always been a good match for me. I’m an only child and an introvert, so I live in my head most of the time. But it is nice to be able to share my stories with other people who may enjoy the same things I do. 🙂

Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
Publishing has made me a lot more disciplined, for sure. I had tons of unfinished manuscripts just sitting around, and loads of ideas in notebooks and Word docs. I still do, but now that I write for an audience, I feel more of a drive to sit down and do what needs to be done, even when the words aren’t flowing.

That said, I don’t always succeed…

What would you say was the toughest part?
Getting it done. It’s terrible, and I have no one to blame but myself. Some days, writing is like pulling teeth, and I can be such a perfectionist that I stress out when it feels like terrible prose, even though I know I can fix it inediting.

The solution has just been consistency. When I write, I put on some music, put Scrivener in full screen, set a timer, and write until I get it done.

Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
Years ago, yeah. These days I’m convinced that writer’s block, for me, is a result of poor planning. Now I not only plan out a rough outline of the whole story, but I loosely detail what I intend to write each day to keep myself on track.

Was there ever a time, during your work for this book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
I envy the writers who have absolutely no trouble and enjoy the whole process. No matter how much I like a story, it’s never been enough to get me through the slumps. With this one it was probably around the 3/4 mark. I realized the story was getting way longer than I intended (which ended up being a plus!) and I knew how I wanted to end it, but I was having doubts about getting there. The main one was just an absolute uncertainty over whether or not people would like the book.

I pushed through it because I really wanted to see it through, no matter the outcome, and I’m very glad I did.

What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
I do have a day job. I work as a marketing manager for a company that sells a lot of different products in various markets. I enjoy gaming, as I said, and that’s usually my go-to hobby, but I also love to cook and of course I read a lot. Time that isn’t consumed by those things is usually spent finding ways to improve my business as a self-published author.

How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
I’ve been very fortunate, I think. I haven’t received any scathing reviews yet. The worst ones tend to complain about the length, which I consider a compliment. But my rule is really not to respond to negative reviews at all, and I think other authors would be well-advised to do the same. If the review is constructive, learn from it, but if it’s just someone venting their frustrations… just walk away.

Without giving us spoilers (of course), what can we expect next from this series?
Well, definitely expect Kiryn to face some consequences for running away from home. And when that happens, Rogan is going to have to make a choice. Also expect minor characters to have a larger part in future installments. I’ve particularly enjoyed fleshing out Meg.

What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next? Aside from this series?
I’m actually working on a short from Meg’s POV that ties into the world and the story of The Minotaur’s Mate but deals with her own struggles and her journey to overcome them. I’m also writing a werewolf story that is full-form (no shifting to human form before the good stuff!) and I hope it can persuade some of my readers who are turned off of the shifter genre to give wolfmen a chance. Other than that, I launched a series of standalone shorts (the Claimed series) that are quick romps in the same world/setting.

How long did the production part take, from the moment you began working on the manuscript to when you hit “Publish”?
2-3 weeks. Back then I only had a part time job, so I was afforded a lot more time to write. I think the first draft took about a week and a half, then editing took half a week, and I spent the remaining time on cover design, market research, and uploading everything.

What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
For a project that actually got finished? About two months.

Where is your work being distributed? How did you decide which one(s) to go with?
The Minotaur’s Mate: Claimed is at every retailer I could get to take it, and it’s free at most of those places so that readers have a sample of my work before they decide to buy anything else. My other books are Amazon exclusives because Kindle Unlimited made the most sense for my business when it launched. They’re slowly coming out of exclusivity, though, and I’ll be distributing them everywhere.

If you could turn back in time and do things differently, would you? What would you change?
I would’ve written the followup much more quickly. I had so many wonderful fans that somehow found the book organically and left amazing reviews, and then I stepped away from publishing for almost 2 years. Some people found me when I published the second book, but I just feel terrible that I had so many fans for one book and I essentially let them down because of a few life complications.

Fun facts:

If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one item you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
Probably a fully-loaded Kindle with somehow infinite battery life.

Name your favorite fruit.
Watermelon.

Favorite season?
Winter. I live in Florida…

How about favorite time of the day?
Late evening, when my other obligations are met and I can relax.

Were you a Girl Scout?
I was! I only made it up to the Brownies rank though.

Favorite food for breakfast?
Pancakes.

What is the latest book you’ve bought and read?
The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles.

What was the last book you absolutely fell in love with?
Probably the same as the above! But I’ve also really enjoyed Viola Rivard’s Running With Alphas series.

Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
It varies between muted shades of blue and green depending on my mood.

Coffee or tea?
Coffee for sure.

Sweet or salty?
Salty.

Drama or comedy?
Drama.

Cats or dogs?
I have both, but I’d say I’m more of a cat person.

Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
I would curl into a little ball in a club, so definitely dinner by candlelight.

Favorite Swear Word?
Has to be cock.

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Giveaway:

Elise Artez has offered to give away FIVE copies of this awesome book to Smutsonian Readers! Enter Here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author:

Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Elise is fond of misunderstood monsters: Fantastical creatures that are aggressive, frightening, and inexplicably alluring. She’s always been disappointed that the Disney adaptation of Beauty and the Beast saw the beast turn back into a man, but rest assured, that never happens in her stories. The beauties always get their beasts in their truest forms. Minotaur, satyr, and shifters of all kinds, there is no beast that cannot be tamed.

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3 thoughts on “Elise Artez – The Minotaur’s Mate: Claimed (Review, Excerpt, Interview, & Giveaway)

  1. I haven’t heard of the minotaur since I was in school many moons ago. Thanks for adding this to the paranormal books as another form for shifters! I look forward to reading this one!

    Liked by 1 person

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