Mark traded a career in the helping profession to scar minds with his fiction. He attributes his ideas to premature exposure to horror movies, and/or witnessing adult cocktail parties in the '70s. His development has been further skewed by surviving earthquakes, typhoons, and two volcanic eruptions. Despite being disaster prone, he somehow continues to live and breathe. Residing in the oft maligned, yet not nearly as soggy as you'd think, Pacific Northwest, with his wife and two furry monsters that think they're children.
A couple on the verge of divorce begrudgingly agree to an unorthodox marital retreat. Despite warnings and portents, Hilary and Jack travel to the remote Washington scablands, braving a strange religious demonstration to arrive at Balustrade, an oddly voyeuristic couples program.
Under the tutelage of Chantal, a harsh mistress, and Ludo, a brooding sex surrogate, the couple find their most intimate relations under discomfiting scrutiny. The therapy is ritualistic, sensual, wearing away their inhibitions to lush, orgiastic ends. For a while, Hilary luxuriates in a slippery, sensual descent into wickedness. But when time begins to disintegrate in dream-like fugues, sexual awakening takes a turn for the sinister.
Clandestine cabals whisper behind closed doors. Robed figures congregate in the dark cavern at the apex of the strange building’s courtyard.
Nothing is quite as it seems. And a question looms…
Is it the intention of Chantal and Balustrade to help mend their failing marriage or are their minds and bodies being groomed for more sinister, carnal purposes? Hilary must strive to unlock the secrets behind Balustrade before it pushes her to the brink of insanity and ignites her darkest urges.
Wade Crowson, a brutish and brooding playboy and veteran vivisectionist for the Parts Department, runs into more than he bargained for in new partner, Lucid Montgomery, a quirky beauty with a bizarre secret and a string of psychiatric diagnoses she tries hard to keep hidden. Loving Luce will stamp a demonic target on her back and thrust Wade into a frenzied whirlwind of hilarious misunderstandings and, quite possibly, a stripping gig for emptynesters. Can they withstand the savagery of an exorcism (with or without the split pea soup) and come out alive and …in love?