She might become a news anchor. She might host a game show. She might fall in love with a burly stalker who builds her a Jacuzzi and saves her from a gang of Kalashnikov-toting itinerants in eastern Russia. Most predictions about the future of Michele Bachmann, the divisive Minnesota congresswoman who announced this week that she would not run for re-election in 2014, are rife with reasons to gasp and grimace.
The same might be said about Fires of Siberia, a romance novel inspired by Bachmann’s public persona, released on Wednesday by artist Paul Chan’s e-book imprint Badlands Unlimited. The book centers around the plight of Danielle Powers, a conservative Republican senator whose campaign-season trip from Seoul to Moscow is interrupted when a plane crash leaves her and a mysterious fellow survivor named Steadman Bass stranded in the Siberian wilderness. Powers is uninterested at first (she’s in a committed marriage to a pray-the-gay-away counselor back in Minnesota, and wonders if Bass might actually be a stalker her handlers call Character A), but the man knows how to hunt and make blankets out of lynx hides, so eventually they get it on.
Even if you haven’t seen the book’s cover, no one should be surprised by the explicit depictions of sex and violence (or the animated GIF) included in the book’s digital release. You should read it.
They called him Character A.
At first the stranger sent crude drawings of her in the nude, illustrated with obvious affection. But over time the drawings became more graphic and abhorrent. They depicted her engaged in salacious acts with a Minotaur, and sometimes the pages were stained with blood and semen…The letters were disgusting. They upset her, made her self-conscious when she chose her underwear, wondering how and when Character A would get his glimpse. Whenever Hank showed her something new, she read it with contempt for the depraved soul who sent it.
– Chapter 2
She stretched in her seat, lifting her arms and balling her hands into fists. Shaking off the sleep, she settled back into her body in all of its slender, volatile elegance. Soft and tall, with supple shoulders, jutting breasts, and a narrow waist that tapered into tantalizingly long legs — regardless of her politics, she was going to get votes.
– Chapter 3
From the duffel bag Steadman retrieved a pair of sandwiches and two nips of Chivas Regal, and there was snow for them to slurp as drinking water. He laid down a plastic tarp and three wool blankets. They ate and drank in silence.
Afterward, the fatigue caught up to her. She crawled under the blankets to warm herself.
“We’ll need to use each other for body heat,” Steadman said.
She snorted. “You wish.”
She rolled onto her side, snuggling deeper into the blankets. She needed to find out who he was, and why he’d been on the plane. But her eyes began to shutter. Sleep was coming quickly.
“I wish we had a fire,” she whispered.
“Tomorrow we’ll have a fire,” Steadman replied softly.
“Tomorrow we’ll be rescued.”
“Tomorrow we’ll have a fire.”
– Chapter 5
“Where you see only one set of footprints, that’s where I carried you,” Steadman said.
She remained quiet.
“What, you don’t like poetry?” he asked.
Danielle blanched. She had an unfortunate association with the word. It conjured the memory of her stalker. He had sent her many poems, vulgar verses, like the one about a jackal performing cunnilingus on her as she leaned naked against a free-standing ATM, money pouring from her mouth and hands. Character A had entitled it “Withdrawal.”
– Chapter 8
His eyes searched her with an awful intensity, full of anguish and desire. Danielle’s heart flooded with confusion. She felt no more panic, no more terror, now in the safe harbor of his arms.
So why was her pulse still racing?
Steadman lifted her higher, raising her delicate mouth toward his and meeting it with much ardor. Deeply, passionately, their lips pressed together.
Her heart was a prisoner pounding on the walls.
Tiny spasms fluttered throughout her body, little pleasure spangles that swirled like a cone of butterflies. Her knees went weak. She reached for the back of his neck, wanting more, needing more. Above, a flock of birds burst from the trees and became an arrow and struck the sky together, singular in purpose, like a black pen making its mark. Steadman was claiming her, his mouth hot on hers in a savage kiss. She couldn’t breathe. It was all she could do to push him away.
She had to.
– Chapter 11
She stole a glance at him, his throat, which was covered in hairy turmoil. She wanted to bite him. To clamp down on his coccyx as the sweet curse of his body tainted hers with its touch.
He sensed her eyes upon him. Before she could look away, he held her with his stare. His eyes were irreducible. Danielle flushed with heat.
– Chapter 12
It was all gas back home tomorrow. Nothing mattered. There was no tax shelter in the snow of Siberia. There were no abortion doctors to target.
But what did she even know about this powerful man? This master kisser. He was boorish, vulgar with fish and scornful of the world. Yet he’d been gentle with her. Kind. She knew next to nothing about him. Everything was present tense. There were so many unanswered questions. How had they survived? Why was no one coming to rescue them?
– Chapter 13
Her round breasts spilled excitedly toward him. They beckoned to his fingertips, to his lips, for a touch. Steadman could not help but comply. He lifted her forward and claimed her burgeoning apices with his mouth, suckling them like a pleasure artist as he tightly wrapped his paws around her lower back, just above the round of her bottom. His tongue was hot and curious, encircling her perfections with a swirling worship, a supplicant traveling around one Mecca and then the other. Danielle moaned, the pleasure doubled by the sensations he gave her and for assuaging his desire.
– Chapter 14