I’m in Akron, sitting in the business office of the hotel because the promised Wi-Fi connection doesn’t work. I missed blogging yesterday due to travel. By the time we all (sis and daughter) arrived here, I was too tired to care.
Anyway, I’m here at Romanticon, hangin’ with the supermodels, seeing old friends (writers and readers), and enjoying watching my daughter’s reactions to everything around us. She’s heard me talking about conferences for years, but this is the one she’s breaking her cherry on. 🙂
To celebrate the release of my latest “Vikings in Space” story, I’m going to give you juicy excerpts for the next few days. Comment and you’ll be eligible for a fun grab bag of swag from Romanticon! I’ve already been gathering trading cards, pens, bookmarks, and assorted “stuff”. I hope to get some autographed books along the way too!
Though proud and strong, Eirik, heir to the Ulfhednars kingdom, found himself seduced and taken from his homeworld by a bounty-hunting vixen, who sold him into slavery. Purchased by a wealthy, Consortium-backed brothel, he is kept at a heavily guarded and secure breeding facility, where he is forced to feed the lustful whims of Helios’s elite at night. He bides his time, waiting for a chance to escape and get his revenge on the woman who betrayed him…
Once a sex thrall, Fatin earned her freedom through service. Now, as a bounty hunter, she is determined to earn enough to buy her sister’s papers from the same brothel she escaped. For this, she abducts a brutishly handsome, breed-worthy specimen from the Viking planet and delivers him to auction. But her desire for justice and his desire for freedom may consume both of them in a passion neither wanted—or can resist.
Eirik tried not to breathe too deeply. The rotten, sour smells of his dark, dank prison already made his skin stink. He didn’t want the awful stench inside his lungs or belly.
He hadn’t seen the other prisoners, not after they’d been herded like cattle through a chute once the hatch had been opened at the side of the ship and his keepers applied prods to their backsides to move them out in single file.
With only brief impressions of his new home, of searing heat and blinding, harsh sunlight, he’d shielded his arm over his eyes and stumbled down the gangway, through the iron-barred alley that disallowed any thoughts of escape.
He’d been led to this cell, deep inside an enormous stone building. A brief glimpse of an open arena, and then he’d been shoved down two flights of narrow stone steps.
Once they’d slammed the solid door and slid the eye-level window closed, he’d been left alone, no sounds penetrating his prison other than the hum of the light above him, and the sounds his own body made.
His thoughts drowned it all out, screaming inside him. He’d wanted to beat his fists against the door, rail at his captors, but he didn’t know if anyone watched him, and wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of knowing how close to abject despair he was coming.
Hel, he’d even suffer Fatin’s derision, her cold, calculating touch, just to feel or hear another human being.
He didn’t know how long he’d been here, there being no window, and no way for him to know how the natural passage of time was counted on this planet, but he knew it was long enough that he’d stopped believing anyone would come to his rescue.
They must think me dead, he thought. Like Father, lost on the ice. One day waving as he skimmed away across the frozen blue water, never to return. Only Eirik wasn’t lost. He wasn’t dead.
A key grated in the lock at his door, pulling his glance. The heavy door swung open, and two sweet-smelling women strode inside, dressed in short, white skirts. Their breasts were bare. Leather sandals with straps laced up to their ankles. Both were dark-haired and ombré-skinned. Like the witch Fatin. They carried linens and an urn of water.
He pressed a hand against the wall of his cell and pushed up from the floor.
“There’s a guard outside the door,” the one nearest him said. Her dark, sloe eyes glittered as they raked his body. “We’re here to bathe and dress you.”
Pushing past them would earn him nothing. He clenched his fists at his sides and held himself still as they brought their clean, sweetly fragrant bodies close enough to strip away his clothing and bathe him like a mother might a child. Only their hands lingered over his sex, and although he might have wished otherwise, his cock unfurled, coaxed by their hands and then their lips to deliver his body’s nectar. Or so they called it.
Dressed now, and more relaxed, he allowed another woman just outside his cell to lead him through a winding warren of corridors until they climbed a final set of steps and she pushed open the door, letting sunlight drench them.
Eirik closed his eyes, lifting his face to the light. But he wasn’t allowed to savor the sensation. A prod behind him reminded him not to dally. He stepped out onto a platform in the center of the arena. A stage surrounded by thousands of men and women dressed in long robes and jewels.
A blended roar of voices greeted him. Women’s excited chatter, men’s laughter. He emptied his mind of the indignity, of standing in the center of the stage, hands rising, voices shouting. Then one voice separated from the throng, for it was nearer and familiar. His head swiveled toward the sound, caught the triumph glittering in Fatin’s eyes as she met his gaze for a moment, then turned back to the crowd, accepting rapidly escalating bids.
A woman near the front of the stage shouted something that sent the crowd into gales of laughter.
Fatin turned toward him, warning him to behave with her cold, black gaze. When she was within arm’s reach, she pulled at the tie on his hip and unlaced it, letting the short, skirtlike garment the women had dressed him in fall away.
He stood nude, his body exposed to the air and the rapacious gazes of the crowd. His head cleared of the numbing despair, all focus homing on Fatin’s slender frame. No matter the outcome of today’s shameful events, he vowed to have his revenge. One day, Fatin would be the slave; one day she would know the shame he felt.
Something of what he thought must have transmitted. Fatin’s look of triumph faded, and her eyes became dark mirrors of doubt.
Slowly, his body warmed; his cock expanded. The things he would do to her, the many ways he would take her, filled his mind. No woman would ever know the depths of depravity he would visit on her body.
Frozen, her gaze locked with his. Eirik let the smile tugging at his mouth expand.
Be frightened, sweet Fatin. Be waiting for me.