Hey fellow romance lovers!

Thanks for having me on Coffee Time Romance. I’d like to talk about what happens when the hero or heroine lie to each other, but first I’ll introduce myself.

I’m originally from Sri Lanka, but I’ve lived in places as different as Dubai, Texas and Iqaluit, where I either studied or worked as a medical laboratory technologist. But I’ve always enjoyed writing, and when I was first published, it was one of the happiest days of my life.

I love reading fantasy and romance, so I write those as well. What’s most fun about this is that I can tell a story with political intrigue and battles (think Game of Thrones) but I know my main characters will be safe and happy in the end. So there’s the thrill as well as the safety net. And I just enjoy being in a different place and time. Someone once said thar books are heavy because they contain worlds, and that’s so true.

I’ve included the blurb of my newest release at the end, but for now let’s get back to the fun part—sex, lies and videotape. Well, minus the videotape, because that hasn’t been invented yet in my stories’ timeline.

When I first came up with the idea that kicked off THE HIGHEST TIDE, I asked on a discussion board: “If the heroine goes to a brothel to hire a man’s services, and she mistakes the hero for a prostitute, but he plays along, would it be a problem?”

For some readers, this was a no-no. They deeply disliked the fact that he didn’t say, no, I’m just here to conduct a routine health inspection of the employees. A few people suggested that either he tell her the truth or that I make him a prostitute.

Neither of those would have worked for the story, but there were enough positive comments that I felt confident about going ahead. My favorite response was this:

“She wanted to sleep with a stranger in exchange for money and does exactly that, she just didn’t know that he doesn’t do it on a regular basis.”

Which is true. And he didn’t lie to her to hurt her. He pretended to be a prostitute because he was instantly, intensely attracted to her, but he quickly figured out that she wasn’t interested in any kind of relationship, because she was a foreigner who’d be heading home in a few days. So he felt there was no other choice if he wanted to get to know her better—but of course things didn’t work out the way he planned.

A lot of romances begin with one person deceiving the other, which is another reason I wanted to write this story.

A lie can be a lot of fun to read about, especially when it spins out of control into a full-blown masquerade. In my story, the hero, Jason Remerley, thinks fast when the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen asks if he works in the brothel. Of course he does! But then he’s got to keep the deception going—he needs to find a private room for the two of them, keep the madam of the brothel from discovering the tryst, and navigate his way through the strangest intimate encounter of his life.

Especially since it’s with a woman who is first and foremost an armed naval officer. She knows exactly what she wants—and it’s not intimacy. For her, it’s a purely business transaction. She won’t even tell him her name. So when she discovers the truth…

That’s something I like about stories with mistaken identity. The longer the lie goes on, and the more elaborate the buildup, the more there is at stake when the house of cards comes down. One of my favorite moments in Gone with the Wind is when Scarlett, in her new curtain-dress, sweeps majestically into the jail so she can get some money out of Rhett. And he comes this close to showing that he loves her before he realizes the truth, which is a crushing moment for both of them.

A lie also says something about the character of the person doing the deceiving. In THE HIGHEST TIDE, the heroine, Captain Lera Vanze, makes a wrong assumption about Jason because she’s a foreigner in his country. But he deliberately keeps it going, partly because he’s so attracted to her and partly because he has a calculating streak a mile along.

This isn’t his finest quality, but hey. If everyone always behaved honorably and honestly, the world would be a wonderful place, but a lot of stories would be shorter.

The only time deception doesn’t work for me is when either the hero or heroine does it to maliciously hurt the other person. Especially if I care about the person who’s being deceived, I don’t want them ill-treated to that extent.

I’d love to hear more from readers about this. If you like romances where a lie complicates the relationship, which ones are they? (Some of my keepers are Mary Balogh’s A Precious Jewel and Stephanie Laurens’ A Secret Love).

And if you don’t like these kinds of stories, please share that too! There’s something for everyone when it comes to romance.


Marian Perera was born in Sri Lanka, grew up in the United Arab Emirates, studied in the United States, and lives in Canada. For now. Her sharkpunk romances The Deepest Ocean, The Farthest Shore and The Highest Tide were released by Samhain Publishing, and another fantasy romance set in Africa will be published in March by Loose Id. Join her on her blog, on Twitter or on her website.

Where there’s a steamy excerpt from her fantasy romance THE HIGHEST TIDE.


When brothel health inspector Jason Remerley finds a uniformed woman waiting impatiently in the Velvet Court parlor, wanting to hire a man’s services, he’s struck by lightning. Intensely attracted, he pretends his way into her arms.

Enough silver, and most men forget about Captain Lera Vanze’s half-burned face. She senses something off about the handsome, ill-dressed prostitute who sells himself so cheaply. But his first touch turns goose bumps to shivers of desire—right before the truth drives them in opposite directions.

Her fury is still simmering when they face each other in a more “official” capacity. She’s joined a warship to stop a terrorist only Jason can identify. Though trust is scarce, they’re swept away in a tidal wave of murderous plots and an explosive attraction that could leave them marooned in an emotional—and very real—minefield.

Warning : She knows how to wield her sword, he knows just how, when, and where to apply his…mind. Contains deception in a brothel, sex in a cave, a shark with a bad habit, and one very large wave.


“Lera is an incredibly engaging heroine…” — Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

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