Please welcome the amazing and very generous Kim Fielding with
The Sacrifice and Other Stories
A sickly man seeks recovery in a seaside cottage.
A temple slave tends a man due to be sacrificed.
A soldier releases a genie.
In seven fantasy short stories and novellas, men find passion with other men in the most unexpected places, and even the gravest circumstances may open the door to hope and love.
This anthology includes two brand-new short stories. In “The Sacrifice,” Rylo is a temple slave tasked with comforting a man who is scheduled to be killed in the morning. In “Chasing Away Cold,” Daku builds an ice sculpture of the god Jarli in order to ensure the end of winter. The collection also includes three novellas and two additional short stories, gathered for the first time in a single volume. “Treasure” introduces Jules, a young man who travels to the quirky seaside town of Urchin Cove to regain his health—and finds an unexpected treasure washed up on the beach. Xolani, a soldier in “Three Wishes,” picks up a small glass bottle and unleashes a surprise. Another soldier, Volos in “Guarded,” will risk everything to save Prince Berhanu. In the sequel, “Mato’s Tale,” an unassuming innkeeper gets a chance for adventure. And in “The Downs,” Enitan is unjustly banished and comes to discover that the demons he must face aren’t the ones he expected.
Join Kim Fielding on journeys through imagined worlds where magic is commonplace and romance lies just around the next bend. All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières.
Excerpt (from “Chasing Away Cold”):
She knelt, scooped a handful of snow, and stood to hold it before her. “This is nothing special—simply water that has frozen and melted and frozen again. But sometimes something very important may come from nothing at all. It depends on the heart of the maker.” She dropped the snow and pressed her hand against Daku’s chest. “The contents of a heart can change everything.”
Although he didn’t understand, he nodded. Then he gave her the cup and turned to complete the ice man.
He took particular care over the face: a narrow chin and broad cheekbones, far-set eyes with a slight downward tilt at the outside, a strong nose, and lips stretched in a wide smile. The ice man’s hair was straight, falling well below his shoulders.
“You’ve made him beautiful,” Yalamay said. Daku couldn’t say whether she’d gone and returned or had been standing there the entire time.
“He is beautiful. I only… I only tried to show that.”
Aside from Daku’s mother, people rarely praised him, and Yalamay was always sparing with her commendations. Daku should have preened under her rare words. But he was too preoccupied with what he had created. The ice man looked so real, so joyful. And in a few short hours he would be destroyed.
Daku swallowed with difficulty, but he managed a small smile when Yalamay patted his back. “Thank you for letting me do this,” he said.
“I won’t always be here, my boy. And none in the tribe but you could make Jarli so well.”
“Don’t go!” Daku cried, as if she could somehow stop death.
She chuckled. “I am pleased to be appreciated. But Daku, everything changes eventually. Winter becomes spring becomes summer becomes autumn becomes winter. Youngsters grow old and babies are born. Even hard stone is worn away”—she gestured at the rock on which the ice man stood—“but new plants grow.” She gestured toward the forest. “Someday this world will see changes that are so far beyond the tribe’s dreaming. But a few things remain unaltered. Do you know what those things are?”
Her laughter startled a nearby crow from its branch. “Oh no, my boy. Gods and goddesses change too. More slowly than humans, perhaps, but no less inevitably. But the world contains magics even more powerful than gods, and the strength of those magics never changes. What are they?”
At first his mind was as blank as a fresh layer of snow. But Yalamay looked at him expectantly, and Daku remembered the conversation he’d had with his mother earlier in the day. “Love and courage.”
“Very good! There are others too, but I think those are an excellent start.”
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About the author:
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.
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