Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review: Into the Spotlight by Heather Long


Fifty years ago, Jeannie Williams made her way to Las Vegas seeking fame and fortune. Instead, she lost her soul and wound up performing nightly shows at the Arcana Royale. Every day, she straps on her feathers, her glitter, her stilettos, and she dances. Every day, it’s the same.

Until the day he walks in.

For six centuries, Malcolm Reynolds has been the go-to guy for anything his family needs: warrior, diplomat, wrangler, researcher, and now an attorney. He enters the Arcana Royale Casino, intent on negotiating the release of his cousin’s bad debt, but one look at the golden-skinned showgirl ignites a fire of need that he’s never experienced. When the fantasy come true sits at his table, words he never expected to hear come out of her lush mouth: “I need your help.”

Now he’s in for the toughest battle of his life, because the Overseers own both his cousin’s debt and her soul. And he’s not planning on leaving the Royale without either one.

This book has been previously published and has been revised and expanded from its original release.

Warning: Contains high-stakes games, sexy showgirls, and a powerful showdown between a vampire that can’t lose and the House that never does. Spells, slots, sirens and sex, oh my!

My Review:

I’ve been to Vegas, but not this Vegas. I want to go to the Vegas that Ms. Long creates. This is a world that is cruel at times, fantastic and amazing all rolled together.

Jeannie “Pandora” Williams, arrived in Vegas fifty years ago, only to make a simple mistake and ended up dancing as their lead showgirl Pandora for the last fifty years. I loved Jeannie from the start; she was strong, graceful and beautiful. The kind of heroine that it’s easy to fall in love with, it’s easy to see why she was chosen as lead dancer so she can seduce the senses every night.

Malcom Reynolds, is a lawyer, warrior and protector of his clan. He was sent to Vegas to bail out his cousin once again. He’s dashing, handsome, and easily enchanted by Jeannie’s beauty and her plight. He endeared me to him when he chose to help Jeannie.

Overall, this is a beautiful, engaging world that I want to visit over and over again. Ms. Long shows that she’s a true geek with references that I enjoyed noticing, I don’t think the references being noticed or not truly add or lessen the story, but I did enjoy them. I want to know the rest of the Soulgirls stories and hopefully we will have them soon. Please!

Buy Links:

Amazon             B&N              Samhain

5 books

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Guest Post: Cara Adams

Welcome Cara Adams to the blog today! She's here with an interview with Tor from “The Dom Unleashes his Wolf”

Who are you and what do you do for a living?

My name’s Torquil Martin. I’m called Tor. I work as a nurse in the town hospital.

Torquil? How did you get a name like that?

Um. Yeah. My name comes from the Norse god of thunder, Thor, and means ‘the protection of Thor’. I was actually left as a baby on the doorstep of the local church and Father Brian, the old priest who found me, named me after his grandfather.

You were abandoned at a church? I thought that only happened in stories?

I’m a werewolf, you see. Well, half werewolf, half human. My parents were very young and had a summer fling, and yeah, that’s what happened to me. It’s why I never ever ever told anyone I was half wolf. Until Gaynor and Cameron. But then I had to protect Gaynor and the secret kind of came out.

So tell us about Gaynor and Cameron.

I’m a Dom and they’re both subs. Cameron’s an attorney with a very stressful job so he turned to BDSM as a way to release all the stress from his work. In my hands he can relax knowing I’ll take care of him.
Gaynor works for the movie studio. She has pure white hair. We’ve wondered if her mom was psychic because Gaynor means white, you know.

You said you had to protect Gaynor. Why was that?

Her best friend Ramona is a puma shape-shifter and was attacked by a gang of rogue panthers. Cameron and Gaynor ran to help her and the only way I could protect them was to shift into my wolf. All my secrets came out and that changed up our relationship in a major way.

Will we be seeing more of you, or are you stepping out of the lime light?

There are eight books in the series and all of us come and go throughout them. Book five, “The Dom Unites Wolf and Panther” is special to me, and in book eight, “The Dom Ignites Her Passion” Cameron gets some of the limelight. Gaynor is in and out of most of the books in the “Unchained Love” series. She’s so friendly everyone knows and loves her.


“The Dom Unleashes His Wolf” is Tor’s story. 

When Gaynor Lee and Cameron Wilson discover their Dom is a wolf shape-shifter, their relationship is suddenly turned on its head. Everything has to change. For protection, they consider moving into a BDSM community, Carnal Connections, but then rogue panthers try to steal Gaynor’s friend Ramona. Is nowhere safe to live?
And how will they adjust to life in a BDSM community? They’ve always practiced a moderate form of BDSM, nothing too hard-core. Not to mention that Tor Martin is a wolf and most of the other shape-shifters there are panthers. Can cats and dogs cooperate, especially when some of them are Doms?

Meanwhile, Carnal Connections opens their eyes and minds to all sorts of sexual possibilities. BDSM has always been immensely freeing and fulfilling for all of them, but it gets even better. Until Tor wants Gaynor and Cameron to commit to him.

Buy links:




Adult Excerpt: 

“Lie down, Gaynor. Put your head in Cameron’s lap.”
She did as instructed, not saying a word but giving as sexy a wiggle as she could manage with her ass and hips as she lay down. She was more than ready to begin playing the scene.
Tor opened the bag and withdrew a tiny box. He placed the bag on the nightstand with his flogger, then opened the box. He rested it on her thigh, so she couldn’t see what was inside it but Cameron could. She glanced up at Cameron’s face and saw his gaze heavy lidded with lust. Whatever could be in the box?
Tor kneeled beside the bed and sucked her left breast into his mouth. Gaynor sighed with pleasure. He did that so well. He didn’t just tease the nipple but drew in the areola and flesh around it as well, sucking them deep into his mouth, making them hot and wet with his saliva. It made the rest of her hot and wet, too, with desire for more of his touching.
She wanted to thrust her breast up into his mouth, to force him take more of her, but knew that would only make him stop sucking her nipple. He was the one deciding what to do here. Her job was simply to enjoy it. So she waited to see what he’d do next. When he took his mouth off her skin she almost complained but managed to tighten her lips and remain quiet. But damn, she wanted more!
Tor scraped his teeth over her nipple, and she had to bite her bottom lip to prevent a moan escaping her mouth. That was so good.
He picked up the little box, took something from it, and stretched her nipple out, elongating it between the thumb and forefinger of his left hand. With his other hand he placed the tiny object over her nipple, tightening a screw with his fingers. Nipple clamps. I’ve never worn them before.
There was a slight bite of pain as the clamps tightened, but he sucked her nipple again, soothing it, before placing his mouth over her other breast. This time she appreciated his actions even more as she knew what was happening. Again he wet her nipple and areola, stretched the nipple right out, ensuring it was fully engorged, then placed the clamp over it, tightening it until she was resting on the border of pleasure and pain.
Now what will he do? Or will Cameron do something?
Tor took a chain from the tiny box. Gaynor was confused. Was it a neck chain for Cameron to wear? But no, Tor leaned over her body again and attached one end of the chain to one nipple clamp and the other end to the other nipple jewelry. But Tor was still holding a length of chain. How could that be? Both nipples were already connected by the chain.
This time Tor leaned over her pussy and flicked his tongue over her clit. She almost gasped, but she managed to hold the sound inside her. A clit clamp! She’d heard of them but had never seen one, and now she was about to be wearing one. Tor sucked her clit hard, causing it to grow and heat. Cream was dripping from her pussy she was so aroused by the touching and the pressure of the nipple clips on her breasts. What effect would the clit clamp have? Would it bring her to orgasm? Or would it be painful when it was attached?
It felt much the same as the nipple clips. A sting of pain, then the throb of a highly aroused piece of flesh under pressure. When Tor attached the chain, he played with it for a while, adding weight and pressure to this nipple, then that one, then tugging on her clit.
“See how pink her skin is, Cameron. I could make her come very easily. Couldn’t I, Gaynor?”
“Yes, Sir.”
“Would you like to come right now?”
“Oh yes, please.”
“But that would spoil it, wouldn’t it. You’d only have a small orgasm. I want you to wait much longer, so you have a better climax. You will wait, won’t you, Gaynor?”
She knew he was right, but dammit she wanted to come, now. However, she nodded her head. “All right. I’ll wait, Sir.”
“That’s a good sub.” Tor pulled on the chains again, her clit, her right breast, her clit, her left breast. Immediately her entire body throbbed and hummed with desire, every inch of her body, every nerve ending screaming for release.
Tor stood over her, and she knew he understood how close she was to orgasming. Another touch would send her screaming off the cliff.
“Suck my cock,” he ordered her.

Find Cara Adams online:

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Blurb Tour: Catching Stardust by Heather Thurmeier

Catching Stardust
Falling Stars Book One
By: Heather Thurmeier


Maia’s been banished to Earth from her place among the stars as the eldest sister of Pleiades... and all because Orion won’t stop chasing her around the universe. Now Maia has to find her way back to the stars with only the help of hunky astronautics scientist Zander while staying hidden from Orion.

Zander never expected the discovery of his lifetime to fall into his lap, but when Maia also falls into his bed, he knows there’s no way he can turn the goddess who has stolen his heart into a science project. With his best friend ready to sell him out for fame, her wannabe lover Orion chasing after her on Earth, and time running out fast, Zander must fight to keep Maia safe long enough to get her home.

If going home means losing Zander, is Maia ready to go back to the stars?

Buy links:



Author Info:

Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders, and a reality TV junkie. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies, but now lives in upstate New York with her own personal romance hero (aka her husband) and their two little princesses. When she's not busy taking care of the kids and an adventurous puppy named Indy, Heather's hard at work on her next romance novel. 

"Heather Thurmeier's hunky heroes and feisty heroines will have you laughing out loud, falling in love ... and coming back for more!" ~ Carly Phillips, NY Times Bestselling Author

"Heather Thurmeier writes sweet, funny romances that capture your heart!" --NYT and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Probst



Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spotlight: The Trouble with Love by Beth Ciotta

(A Cupcake Lovers Novel #2)
Beth Ciotta



Rocky Monroe’s bad luck is legendary. So it stands to reason that during a quick trip to New York on behalf of the Cupcake Lovers’ forthcoming book, she winds up in the arms of the one man she never wants to see again. So what if he’s also the man she can’t stop dreaming about? Mouth-watering Jayce Bello has always been Rocky’s biggest mistake, and she’s not going to let history repeat itself … unless she gets a new taste of his delicious kisses.

When Jayce Bello left Sugar Creek ten years ago, it was the right thing to do—for him and for Rocky, his best friend’s little sister. But one passionate night with gorgeous, reckless Rocky is enough to prove that she’s the missing ingredient in his happiness. Now, with scandalous secrets souring the sweetness of the Cupcake Lovers’ club, Jayce needs to convince Rocky that their love is something to savor …



Rocky turned just as Jayce moved into the small room, filling the space with a palatable intensity. As always her heart fluttered and pounded at the sight of him. Tall, lean, and mean. Physically perfect in her book. He wore his dark golden hair longer these days and had grown a devilishly sexy goatee. Bad-boy to the bone, he was dressed in neck-to-toe black. Baggy pullover shirt, cargo pants, a wool Pea Coat hanging open, and a pair of rubber soled boots. He looked to-die-for handsome. He looked . . . angry.

“You said it was nothing.”

She realized his gaze was fixed on her shirt—stained with copious amounts of mostly dried blood. “It looks worse than it is.” She gestured to her forehead, feigned nonchalance. “Just a tiny cut, but it bled like a mother. It’s not that bad. Didn’t even need real stitches. Just this butterfly strip.”

Jayce dragged a hand down his face. “What else?” 

Her body trembled when he moved in for a keener inspection. Her temperature spiked. Her brain glitched. Everything—her senses, her emotions—were magnified. She blamed her shaky state on the mugging, the accident, the meds, but no amount of rationalizing, curbed her intense reaction to the reassuring presence of this man. “Just some bruises,” she croaked, swallowing hard when he smoothed messy curls from her face. She’d had a crush on Jayce since she was a kid. She’d finally seduced him on the night of her seventeenth birthday. It had been perfect . . . until the next morning when he’d broken her heart. Every time she saw him, which was hardly ever, a lifetime of memories and emotions battered her soul. Every time she saw him, she fell a little harder instead of digging her way out. “I shouldn’t have called.”

* * *


Amazon Buy Link

Book Video Teaser via You Tube 





Cover Reveal: Broken Gates by D.T. Dyllin

Broken Gates
D.T. Dyllin
Series: The PJ Stone Gates Trilogy Book # 2 
Release Date: May 24th 2013
Cover Designed By: Lindsay Tiry 


P.J. Stone is a Seer who saw too little, too late.

In the past, her biggest worries were boys and school—but war has a way of changing things. Now, the alien Riders are trying to overrun the world. As the last of their kind, P.J. and her friends must find a way to save humanity before there’s nothing left to save. 

After choosing a mate, P.J. hoped she'd have time to enjoy her love life. But with everything changing so quickly and major secrets revealed, who knows what the future will bring?

About Book 1: Hidden Gates 

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

For P.J. Stone, being a “Seer” who has never seen anything is less than fun. And P.J. isn’t known for her patience.

To make matters worse, she must choose a suitable mate to continue the Seer bloodline. Duty always comes before her heart…at least that’s what her parents taught her. When she finds herself wanting someone who is considered off-limits, P.J. is forced to question everything she believes.

As if navigating her love life isn’t complicated enough, P.J. finally receives a vision—of a threat to her world that only she can perceive. But no one will believe a fledgling Seer’s warnings. With nowhere else to turn, she may decide to trust a stranger with her life, her world, and maybe even her heart.

Where to buy Hidden Gates: 



Book Depository

About the Author:

Cynical-Optimist. Chocolate-holic. Sarcasm Addict. Paranormal Believer. Romance Junkie. Self-Imposed Insomniac. Animal Lover. Writer...are just a few words to describe D.T. Dyllin. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and two very spoiled GSDs.

Social media links:

Website       Facebook     Twitter      Goodreads

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spotlight/Review: Take Me Home, Cowboy by Krista Ames

Take Me Home, Cowboy (Western Escape)

by Krista Ames
Contemporary Erotic Western Romance
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Release Date: November 19, 2012
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count: 25,000

Buy Links:



Ally Kincaid returns to Freewill, Wyoming, to see her father after a two year absence. Anticipating a quiet family reunion, she finds herself butting heads with her father’s foreman instead. The man’s arrogance and sexy drawl push all her buttons, making her wonder what he’s hiding beneath his cowboy swagger.

Matt Gentry walked away from the past and shies from the future. No ties means no one gets hurt…until the boss’s daughter, a hot, green-eyed blonde, tempts him to break his own rules.

When tragedy strikes, will building tension and pride destroy their growing attraction or show them the way home?

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language which may be considered offensive to some readers.


Ally’s attention immediately flew to the newcomer in the room. How could she not? He was gorgeous. Not that she actually wanted to notice.  Ha! Who was she kidding? His hair was still damp where it curled slightly at the neckline of his T-shirt. The short sleeve tee was snug fitting and showed off his pectorals and tanned arm muscles. He grabbed his plate, made his way around the table, and leaned in close. Oh, his scent hit her—clean soap and pure male. Good God.

“Like what you see, princess?” he murmured.

Startled out of her trance, she stumbled for a quick, snide comment. “You wish, cowboy,” she whispered back, and then turned back to her daddy, who was already halfway finished with his meal.

She was not about to let anyone see how rattled the foreman’s presence actually made her. She only hoped she hadn’t already given her odd interest in him away. Ignore him and he won't be any the wiser.  She would be sure to make this trip a short one, or she would be in trouble.

Jesse cleaned his plate and abruptly stood, placed his dishes in the sink, and made to leave the room.

“Looks like you kids get to do the dishes. I’m off to my study.” Her dad kissed the top of her head and slapped his foreman on the back, then chuckled as he disappeared through the door.

“That rat!” she said. “He shoveled through his dinner on purpose.”

“No worries, princess. I do the dishes every night anyway. You can go do whatever it is you do before bed. I’ll take care of the clean up before I head out to check the horses.”

“Oh no you don’t. I won’t let you go running to Daddy tomorrow whining because I didn’t do my share, so I’ll wash. And why are you calling me ‘princess’?”

“It seemed fitting. Would you rather me go back to ma'am?”

“No, I would rather you use my name, thank you.”

He only shrugged.  He pushed his place setting aside, rose, and reached for the dessert and plates on the counter.  “Since we'll be working together, how about some dessert before we get busy?”

My Review:

Ally Kincaid has been living in New York and hasn’t been home to Freewill, Wyoming in two years. I loved Ally from the moment I met her. She was feisty from the very beginning, I loved that her first impression of Matt Gentry wasn’t the best. It just adds that level of conflict to the story.
Matt Gentry knows he should stay away from the boss’s daughter but he can’t help himself, she’s just too interesting, too loveable, and too irresistible. I liked Matt; he was everything you want in a cowboy, sure of himself and great with horses. He was afraid of his past driving Ally away and Ally can’t quite trust someone with secrets, but Ms. Ames does a beautiful job showing how you can fall in love with someone just that quickly even when they aren’t sure of one another.
This is part of the Western Escape series from Decadent Publishing so it’s set in the little town of Freewill, Wyoming but we spend most of the time on the ranch. The descriptions of the land around the ranch and the life on the ranch, made me want to run off to Wyoming and find my own cowboy. I found this short, hot story a great distraction to my busy life, I’m definitely adding Krista Ames to my must read list.

4.5 Stars

About the Author:

Born and raised in Northern Indiana, Krista now resides in Northern Lower Michigan. She is married to a very supportive man, Chip, who allows her to follow her true passion of writing and never complains when she is pirated away on her computer for hours. He even helps with proof-reading and is her “in-house” editor and her idea sounding board. She is also a mother of 4 ornery children who keep her plenty busy. With an addition of 2 beautiful chocolate lab sisters and 2 playful cats, there is never a dull or spare moment in her household.

Krista has always loved to read and would often sit up for hours into the night not able to put down a book until she was finished. She still reads when she can but her main focus is creating her own stories to share with the world.

Connect with Krista Ames

Weekend Writers


Prize is 2 eBook copies of any DP Western Escape Series title (winners' choice; 1 each to 2 winners). Contest is tour-wide, open internationally and ends Apr 10 . Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spotlight: Monster by Dani R.R. Hermit & Nevi Star

Monster (Monster #1)
by Dani R.R. Hermit & Nevi Star
Gay Contemporary Dark Erotic Paranormal Romance
Categories: Action/Adventure, Horror
Publisher: Wandering Stars Press
Release Date: January 23, 2013
Heat Level: Sizzling
Word Count: 290 pages

Buy Links
Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Print)


It’s been years since Siris and Julian’s boy band broke up and they all went their separate ways. Now they’ve run in to each other in a little redneck bar in the middle of nowhere, coming face to face with the ghosts of their past and the feelings they never quite grew out of.

Siris is here handing out golden tickets to some new reality TV show for the network that owns his record label. Julian is here to meet up with yet another new partner. On the surface it seems like a coincidence… or is it? 

Neither man is happy when they realize that The Parliament of Twilight, who once ruled their lives, means for Siris to be Julian’s new partner. Julian worries about what he could do to Siris. Siris just wants to go back to being a mega pop star and has no interest in being a monster hunter. Thrown together against their will (and better judgment) how will these former friends do on their first case? 

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains explicit sex scenes and/or situations (including BDSM/Light Bondage) and adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.


Long, thin fingers toyed with the drops of condensation on the beer bottle sitting virtually untouched in front of the bored looking man.  Julian detested beer, but there was a certain protocol when sitting in a back woods bar like the one he found himself in tonight.  You drank the beer and didn't argue about it.  Anything else was a one way trip to an ass-kicking and he wasn't certain of his ability to survive unscathed.  Especially tonight.

Julian was hungry.  Bordering on starved.  He wasn't anywhere near strong enough to hold his own in a bar fight.  Certainly not strong enough to control his hunger and therefore keep anyone who faced him out of danger.

Under normal circumstances, he would never be here.  This was a place where feeding was out of the question, no matter how long it had been since he had a proper meal.  Ironically, it was his hunger that had put him on the path ending here.  He was under orders to meet his new partner.  It had been less than a month since the incident that made his most recent partner demand to be reassigned.  It hadn't taken the Parliament of Twilight long to honor his request and put Julian on temporary inactive duty while they sorted out Richard's claim of abuse.  He had thought the break would be nice.  Some time to gather his thoughts and get himself feeling normal again. 

About the Authors:

Dani R.R. Hermit (affectionately called Hermie) and Nevi Star, are the writers who founded Wandering Stars Press.

What do we write, you ask?
Our genre is gay erotica, with a spice of horror, mystery, comedy, drama and sometimes a western or space opera.  We love boys loving boys (in all the wrongest ways).  If you love that too, then maybe we can be friends.  Both Hermie and Nevi have some solo projects in the works, but more on those as they develop.  You can stay up to date on the news from Wandering Stars Press on our blog or Facebook.

Who are we when we’re not writing?
We’re life partners who’ve been together 13 years through all of life’s ups, downs and craziness. Ours has been a long and sometimes arduous road, but it’s only made the journey deeper and more interesting, adding fuel and fire to the stories we can tell.

Nevi is a spirit artist and a shaman. She is a World Walker.  Nevi also does all the covers for WSP's books.  She is currently working on a post-apocalyptic pony novel of her own, a My Little Pony themed tarot deck and a spirit squirrel oracle deck. 

Hermie has been studying tarot for 20 years and reading professionally for a small, private clientele for about 13 years. She is also a genius at making sweet treats – homemade candies, cookies, cupcakes. (All gluten free!) She does all the cooking for our little pirate crew (or we would all starve or poison ourselves lol) and loves her neurotic kitten.

What inspires us?
Our first love and inspiration is Japanese Anime & Manga!  We discovered Yaoi and it was all over.  We already had a love affair with slash fan fiction, so taking that to some anime based fics really developed our style into what it is today.  A close second is music.  We create playlists that are character, story-arc or novel specific and play them at top volume while we are driving, writing and sleeping!  We do karaoke in our living room as a means to cleanse our story demons and open up to the next day's work (and because it's a blast to get together with our pirate crew and sing our hearts out!). But we also love TV, movies and books.  You can see which albums, shows, series, etc. are our favorites by following our board on Pinterest.

Follow us:
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See our profile on GLBT BookShelf:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Winner of the Rites of Spring Blog Hop

And the winner is....

Fedora C.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by. I will be running other contests soon. Fedora, I'm emailing you now!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spotlight: Kiss of Temptation by Sandra Hill

Kiss of Temptation

By: Sandra Hill


Ivak Sigurdsson had led a lustful life, leaving a trail of broken hearts--and lives--in his wake. Of course, a man can only live that way for so long, and when a vengeful husband finally breaks through Ivak’s defenses, he is given a choice: die, or serve the archangel Michael and become a vangel.

A thousand years later, determined to prove his worth to Michael and finally gain reprieve, Ivak is successfully avoiding temptation...until he meets Gabrielle Sonnier. The sexy lawyer is just his type, and Ivak wastes no time in telling her so. But Gabrielle has bigger problems on her plate than a horny Viking. So Ivak has no choice but to help Gabrielle, and in doing so, they might both discover there are more tempting things in life than work or love.

Long Excerpt:


The Norselands, 850 a.d., where men…and life…were always hard…

Ivak Sigurdsson was an excessively lustsome man.
Ne’er would he deny that fact, nor bow his head in embarrassment. In truth, he’d well earned his far-renowned wordfame for virility. On his back. On his front. Standing. Sitting. On the bow and in the bowels of a longship. Behind the Saxon king’s throne. Deep in a cave. High in a tree. Under a bush. On a bed. In a cow byre. Once even with…well, never mind, that had been when he was very young and on a dare and another story entirely.
He liked women. Everything about them. Not just the sex bits. He liked their scent, the feel of their silky skin, the allure of their secrets, the sound of their sighs and moans, the taste of them. And women liked him, too. He wanted them all.
You could say lust was a sixth sense for Ivak. He was a Viking, after all.
He’d been twelve years old when, swaggering with over-confidence, he’d tried his dubious charms on his father’s eighth concubine who’d laughed herself into a weeping fit afore showing him exactly which hole he should aim for. Now, twenty years and at least two hundred bedmates later--he’d stopped counting after that incident in Hedeby-- there was naught he did not know about sex. Men came to him for advice all the time. Women, too
The cold Norse winds blew outside his keep now, but he and his comrades-in-arms were warm inside as they sat before one of the five hearth fires that ran through the center of his great hall at Thorstead. Their body heat was aided by the mead they were imbibing and the satiety that comes from having tupped more than the ale barrel, and it not yet eventide.
When bored and having no wars to fight, or any other time for that matter, taking an enthusiastic maid to the bed furs was always a worthwhile pastime. Leastways, it was for Ivak. You’d think his jaded appetites would have waned by now. Instead, he found himself wanting more and more. And the things he tried these days pushed even his sensibilities for decency…but not enough to stop him.
And, of course, when bored and having no wars to fight, men did what men did throughout time. Drank.
In fact, Esbe, the widow of one of his swordsmen, walked amongst them now, refilling their horns from a pottery pitcher. When she got to him, she smiled, a small, secretive smile that Ivak understood perfectly. Women told him that he had an aura about him…a presence, so to speak. By leaning against a wall just so, or merely staring at them through half-slitted eyes, or gods forbid, winking at them, he sent a silent message. Here was a man who knew things.
He smiled back at Esbe, who shared his bed furs on occasion, and watched appreciatively, along with every one of his men, as she walked away from them, hips swaying from side to side.
Another thing men did when bored and having no wars to fights, and especially when drinking, was talk about women.
“Tell me true, Ivak,” demanded Haakon the Horse, a name he’d been given because of a face so long he could lick the bottom of a bucket and still see over the rim, not because of other bodily attributes. Haakon was a master at swordplay if ever there was one, a soldier you’d want at your back in battle, but an irksome oaf when drukkinn, and he was halfway there already. “There must have been times when your lance failed to rise to the occasion. It happens to the best of men betimes.”
Ivak exchanged a quick glance with his best friend, Serk the Silent, who sat beside him on the bench. Serk, a man of few words, did not need to speak for Ivak to know that he was thinking: Here it comes!
Ivak tapped his chin with a forefinger, as if actually giving the query consideration. He could feel Serk shaking with silent laughter. “Nay, it never has, though there have been times I’ve had to take a vow of celibacy to give it a rest.” He cupped himself for emphasis.
“For how long?” scoffed Ingolf, his chief archer. A grin twitched at Ingolf’s hugely mustached upper lip, knowing when Ivak was about to pull a jest.
“Oh, a good long time. Two days at most,” Ivak admitted.
Everyone, except Haakon, found amusement in his jest, including Kugge, the young squire he’d been training of late. Gazing at Ivak in wonder, Kugge blurted out, “Did it hurt?”
“The celibacy or the excess?” Ivak asked, trying to keep a straight face.
A blush crept over Kugge’s still unwhiskered face as he sensed having made a fool of himself.
Ivak patted Kugge on the shoulder.
Haakon glared at him, his question not gaining the results he’d wanted…a fight. Ivak returned Haakon’s glare, his with a silent warning that Haakon thankfully heeded. Haakon stood, tossing his horn to the rushes, and stomped off, hopefully to sleep himself sober.
Ingolf took a long draught from his horn of ale, cleared his throat, and proclaimed with a chuckle, “To my mind, a man’s cock is like a brass urn.”
“Oh, good gods!” Ivak muttered.
“How true!” Serk encouraged Ingolf and nudged Ivak with an elbow to share in his mirth.
“Now, hear me out,” Ingolf said, stroking his mustache. “Everyone knows that brass needs polishing from time to time, and--”
“Mine is especially shiny these days since I got me a second wife,” one of the men contributed.
Ingolf scowled at the interruption and continued, “Of course, a one-handed rub will do to ease the throb, but best it is if the polishing is done in the moist folds of a female sheath’s choke hold.”
“I don’t understand,” Kugge said to Ivak.
“’Tis a mystery,” Ivak replied with dry humor.
Ingolf, who fashioned himself a master storyteller, was on a roll now. ‘Twas best to let him finish. “The thing about brass is that too much rubbing and it loses its luster. Even grows pits.” Ingolf pretended to shiver.
“Pits? Like a peach?” Kugge whispered.
“Nay. Like warts,” Ivak told the boy. “You do not want warts down there, believe you me.”
“Even worse,” Ingolf told Kugge, “tainted oil in the sheath can spoil all it touches. Remember that dockside whore in Jorvik.” The latter Ingolf addressed to the other men. “Now that was a woman with teeth down there.”
“She had a lot more than teeth,” Serk remarked, “as many men soon learned.”
“The difference, my friend, is that some cocks are solid gold.” Ivak motioned a hand downward.
The other men rolled their eyes and guffawed.
“Mine is solid silver,” Bjorn No-Teeth said, his lips twitching as he attempted to hide his gummy smile. “I’m thinking about having it…etched. Ha, ha, ha!”
Others offered their own self-assessments:
“Mine is ivory, smooth and sleek, and big as an elephant’s tusk betimes. Not that I have e’er seen an elephant.”
“Mine is a rock. A rock cock.”
“Mine is iron, like a lance. A loooong lance.”
“Holy Thor! Do not make me laugh anymore lest I piss my braies.”
Someone belched.
Someone else farted.
More bragging.
Ivak sighed with contentment. It was the way of men when they were alone with time to spare.
Their merriment was interrupted by the arrival of Ivak’s steward announcing Vadim, the slave trader from the Rus lands, who had come from Birka before circling back home. He would probably be the last one to make it through the fjords before they were frozen solid for winter.
Ivak and Serk left the others behind as they went out to the courtyard and beyond that to an outbuilding that usually housed fur pelts. It was empty now, the goods sent to market, and cold as a troll’s arse in a blizzard. He waved to a servant who quickly brought him and Serk fur-lined cloaks.
Vadim was a frequent visitor at Thorstead. As often as he dealt in human flesh, Vadim also traded in fine wines, spices, silks, and in Ivak’s case, the occasional sexual oddity…dried camel testicles, feathers, marble phalluses and such.
Serk joined the steward who was examining some of the wares on display in open sacks while Ivak, at Vadim’s urging, walked to the far end of the shed.
“Come, come, see what delights I have for you, Lord Sigurdsson.”
Ivak was no lord, and he recognized the obsequiousness of the title dripping from the Russian’s lips, but it wasn’t worth the bother of correcting him. “So, show me the delights.”
Three men were roped together against one wall. Nothing delightful here. An elderly man that Vadim identified as a farmer from the Balkans. With the rocky landscape at Thorstead, Ivak had no need of a farmer and certainly not a graybeard. Next was a boyling with no apparent skills; Ivak passed on him, as well. The third was a young man that Ivak did want…a blacksmith’s apprentice. He and Vadim agreed on a price, although Ivak did not like the angry exchange of words in an undertone between this last man and Vadim that the trader dismissed as of no importance.
Next came the best part. The delight part. The women. Ivak always enjoyed checking over new female slaves. Serk, who had finished examining the household wares, joined him.
The five women were not restrained, but they were shivering with cold, or mayhap a bit of fear, not knowing that Ivak would be a fair master. They shivered even more when Vadim motioned for them to disrobe. While Ivak pitied them this temporary chill, he was not about to buy a piece of property without full disclosure. Once he’d purchased a prettily clothed slave in Jorvik only to find she had oozing pustules covering her back, from her neck to her thighs.
“I see several you would like,” Serk whispered at his side.
Ivak agreed, a certain part of his body already rising in anticipation.
The first was clearly pregnant, normally a condition that would preclude his purchase—there were enough bratlings running about the estate, including some of his own--but he had a comrade-in-arms who had a particular taste for sex with breeding women; so, he motioned for her to join the young blacksmith at the other end. With an appreciative nod of thanks at her good fortune, she quickly pulled on her robe and drew a threadbare blanket over her shoulders.
“This one is a Saxon, a little long in the tooth, but an excellent cook,” Vadim said.
“I already have a cook,” Ivak demurred.
“Ah, but does she make oat cakes light as a feather and mead fit fer the gods?” the heavy woman of middle years, whose sagging breasts reached almost to her waist, asked in Saxon English. The Norse and Saxon languages were similar and could be understood to some extent by either. She’d obviously got the meaning of his remark.
Ivak liked a person with gumption, male or female, and he grinned, ordering her to join the other two. Besides, a Viking could never have enough good mead.
All the thrall bodies were malodorous from lack of bathing…for months, no doubt…but this next one—an attractive woman of thirty or so years--had a particular odor that Ivak associated with diseased whores. He gave Vadim a disapproving scowl and moved to the fourth woman.
“This one is a virgin,” Vadim said. “Pure as new snow. And a skilled weaver.”
Ivak arched a brow with skepticism as he circled the shivering female who had seen at least twenty winters. He doubted very much that a female slave could remain intact for that many years. Still, she would be a welcome diversion. New meat for jaded palates. Not to mention, he had lost a weaver this past summer to the childbirth fever. He nodded his acceptance to Vadim.
And then there was the fifth woman…a girl, really. No more than sixteen. Red hair, above and below. Ah, he did love a red-headed woman. Fiery, they were when their fires were ignited, as he knew well how to do. He could not wait to lay his head over her crimson fluff and…
He smiled at her.
She did not smile back. Instead, tears streamed down her face.
He ran his knuckles over one pink, cold-peaked nipple, then the other.
She actually sobbed now, and stepped back as if in revulsion.
The tears didn’t bother him all that much, but the resistance did. Thralldom was not easy for some to accept, but she would settle into her role soon. They usually did. They had no choice. Not that he would engage in rape. Persuasion was his forte.
But wait. She was staring with seeming horror at something over his shoulder.
Ivak heard the growl before he turned and saw the smithy tugging to be free from the restraints being held by both Vadim and his assistant. At the same time, the young man was protesting something vociferously in what sounded to Ivak like the Irish tongue.
“What is amiss?” Ivak demanded of Vadim.
“He’s her husband, but you are not to worry--”
Ivak put up a halting hand. “I do not want any more married servants. Too much trouble.” He started to walk away.
“You could take one of them,” Vadim offered.
Ivak paused. The woman’s skin wasdeliciously creamy and her nether fleece was tempting. “I’ll take her. You keep him.”
The husband didn’t understand Ivak’s words as he spoke, but Vadim must have explained once Ivak and Serk left the building and headed back to the keep because his roar of outrage would be understood in any language.
“Is that wise, Ivak?” Serk asked. “Separating a man and his mate?”
“It happens all the time, my friend, and do you doubt my wisdom in choosing good bedsport over good metalwork?”
Serk laughed but at the same time shook his head at Ivak with dismay. In some ways Serk had gone soft of late, ever since he’d wed Asta, the daughter of a Danish jarl. Six months and Serk was still besotted with the witch. Little did he know that Asta was spreading her thighs hither and yon. Ivak knew that for a fact because he’d been one of those to whom she’d offered her dubious charms. He would have told his friend, but he figured Serk would grow bored soon enough, and then it would not matter. As long as she did not try to pass off some other man’s bratling as his own. When Ivak had mentioned that possibility to Asta, she’d informed him that she was joyfully barren. That was another thing of which Serk was uninformed.
And women claimed men were the ones lacking in morals!
That night he swived the Irish maid, and she was sweet, especially after having been bathed. It was not an entirely satisfying tup, though. The girl was too willing. He kept seeing her husband’s face as he was dragged away. No doubt Ivak’s distaste would fade eventually, but tonight he had no patience for it, especially as she begged him to be permitted to stay. Instead, he sent her away after just one bout of bedsport, wanting no more of her for now.
He drank way too much mead then, which only increased his foul mood. That was the only excuse he could find for his seeing Asta slinking along one of the hallways and motioning him with a forefinger to come to her bedchamber. Another round-heeled woman with the morals of a feral cat. He knew for a fact that Serk was serving guard duty all night.
Mayhap he should tup Serk’s wife and then explain to him in the nicest possible way on the morrow what a poor choice he had made in picking this particular maid for his mate. He would be doing his friend a favor, he rationalized with alehead madness.
Asta was riding him like a bloody stallion a short time later, and while his cock was interested, he found himself oddly regretting his impulsive invitation. Bored, he glanced toward the door that was opening, and there stood Serk, staring at them with horror. This was not the way he’d wanted his friend to discover his wife’s lack of faithfulness.
“Ivak? My friend?” Serk choked out.
“I can explain. It’s not what you think.” Well, it was, but there was a reason for his madness. Wasn’t there?
At the stricken expression on Serk’s face, Ivak shoved Asta off him, ignoring her squeal of ill-humor, and jumped off the bed. By the time he was dressed, his good friend was gone. And Asta was more concerned about having her bedplay interrupted than the fact that her husband had witnessed her adultery. To Ivak’s amazement, she actually thought they would resume the swiving.
Ivak searched for more than an hour, to no avail. It was already well after midnight and most folks, except for his housecarls, were abed. His apology and explanation to Serk would have to wait until morning. Without a doubt, Serk would forgive him, once he understood that Asta was just a woman, and a faithless one at that. Oh, Ivak did not doubt that Serk would be angry, and Ivak might even allow him a punch or two, but eventually their friendship would be intact.
Still, he could not sleep with all that had happened, and he decided to walk out to the stables to check on a prize mare that should foal any day now. What Ivak found, though, was so shocking he could scarce breathe. In fact, he fell to his knees and moaned. “Oh, nay! Please, gods, let it not be so!”
Hanging from one of the rafters was Serk.
His friend had hung himself.
What have I done? What have I done? She was not worth it, my friend. Truly, she was not. Oh, what have I done?
Ivak lowered the body to the floor and did not need to put a fingertip to Serk’s neck to know that he had already passed to Valhalla. With tears burning his eyes, he stood, about to call for the stablemaster in an adjoining shed when he heard a noise behind him. Turning, he saw the young Irish blacksmith, husband of the red-haired maid he’d bedded, running toward him with a raised pitchfork. Vadim and his crew were supposed to depart at first light. The man must have escaped his restraints.
Before Ivak had a chance to raise an alarm or fight for himself, the man pierced his chest with the long tines of the pitchfork. Unfortunately, he used the special implement with metal tines that Ivak had purchased this past summer on a whim in the open markets of Miklegaard, also known as Byzantium. Why had he not been satisfied with the usual wooden pitchforks for his fine stable? So forceful had the man’s surge toward him been that he pinned Ivak into the wall.
“You devil!” the man yelled, tears streaming down his face. “You bloody damn devil! May you rot in hell!”

Author Info:

Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than 10 years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories. She is the wife of a stockbroker and the mother of four sons.


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