Author: RL Mosswood
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 25, 2017
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, LGBT, Romance, fantasy, paranormal, gay, captivity, magic users, mythology, sailors, slave
Harem boy might not be the most appropriate role for someone who’s never really seen the appeal of sex, but Elin’s status as dahabi: golden in a land of tan and brown, has marked him for The Dragon’s service since birth. He’s content enough with his life of uncomplicated, if restrictive, luxury, until an unremarkable chore becomes a case of love at first sight.
Mysterious newcomer Hathar, a roguish “merchant adventurer” from far-off lands, ignites an exploration of Elin’s first taste of physical desire, as well as a desire to experience life beyond the palace. Now, they must find a way to escape before Hathar’s ship departs, stranding them forever in The Dragon’s harem.
R.L. Mosswood © 2017
All Rights Reserved
Elin woke in his usual place on the silken pallet between Nikil and Rian. The haram was dark, and the night sky outside the elegant, grated windows was still inky. He wasn’t sure what had roused him. He couldn’t recall a dream, and the room was quiet but for the usual nighttime chorus of the men’s sighs and snores.
A moment later, he realized he could hear something else. Not in the room, but maybe down the hall or from the floor below, he could make out rough, raised voices. A fight? But who would it be at this hour, and in this part of the palace? He propped himself on his elbows a little and scanned the room—all the beds seemed to be filled. The men of the haram knew better than to fight anyway, at least not that kind of fighting, with yelling and tussling. The Dragon didn’t take damage to “her boys” lightly, and anyone caught inflicting that damage was likely to disappear without notice or explanation.
He listened a little longer, trying to make out words or recognize a voice, but whatever was happening was far enough off to make that impossible. Finally, he heard a door slam, and that seemed to be the end of it.
He rolled over and drifted off, still puzzling over what he had heard.
At breakfast the following morning, everything seemed normal. The hall was filled with the groggy murmur of men beginning their day, the rich aroma of coffee, and the tap of wooden cutlery on fine china.
Elin, as usual, sat on his own, thoughtfully chewing a honeyed pastry. Though it was hard to ever be truly alone in the haram, his tendency to quiet contemplation left him out of most of the livelier interactions the other men favored. He wasn’t much for sport, which was one of the main entertainments among his comrades, and his thoughts tended to follow slow and dreamy pathways that didn’t lend themselves to clever banter.
As he was pondering the particular play of light on the grain of the highly polished tabletop, a shadow moved into his peripheral vision. One of the guards, a man named Emun, was approaching. The guards of the haram were in a unique position: They were, in most ways, subordinate to the residents they guarded, so they spoke in polite tones, made requests rather than demands, and would usually do whatever was asked of them. At the same time, they were in charge of keeping the men in their place—generally not a hard job. Who would want to escape the lap of luxury, after all? But it was known that, if pushed, the guards would muster force to keep order, which lent an edge to all their interactions with their charges.
Elin finished his bite and looked up, inviting Emun to address him.
“I’ve got something for you to do after breakfast,” he said. “A new resident who needs some cleaning up.”
“A new resident? To our wing?”
Elin was used to being assigned chores considered beneath the more favored men of the haram, but this was unusual. His wing was inhabited by the twenty-one- to thirty-year-olds. They had all entered the haram as children, as soon as they’d been found by The Dragon’s collectors, or ceded by their parents. New arrivals had trickled in through their younger years, a few carefully hidden late arrivals into their early teens, but it had been nearly a decade since anyone had joined the group Elin had grown up with.
“Yep.” Emun cut his thoughts short. “City guard found him skulking around the palace walls and assumed he was an escapee, but we’ve never seen him before. He’s The Dragon’s now, of course. Pretty rough around the edges though. Weird accent, needs a scrub and a shave. See what you can do. Jurah will have him waiting for you outside the baths after you’re done here.”
“Sure. Okay.” Elin wasn’t sure what else to say. How did a fully grown dahabi end up wandering outside the palace? Did he mean to get caught? He supposed he’d have a chance to answer all his questions soon enough, and returned to his breakfast as Emun returned to his post near the door.
Outside the baths, Jurah was waiting as promised. With the guard was a man who could only be the new addition, looking much worse for wear than Elin had anticipated. His hair was so filthy and matted that Elin was surprised the city guard had known him as dahabi at all, and there was blood caked down his cheek and through his stubble from an angry split on his brow. He hadn’t come voluntarily, then. The sturdy rope binding the man’s wrists only reinforced that fact.
“Emun asked me to come down after breakfast,” he said, not quite ready to volunteer what he’d been asked to do. Maybe Jurah had a different understanding of the matter.
No such luck. “Yeah! I’ve got quite a job for you here,” the guard replied jovially, indicating the filthy man by tugging lightly on his bindings. The “job” in question scowled slightly, but said nothing.
“Does he, uh, need to stay bound like that?” Helping with a bath was one thing, but Elin didn’t think he had it in him to wrestle anyone into submission.
“Oh, no. Our friend here has settled down quite a bit since last night. He’s going to be on his best behavior for you. Right?” With that, Jurah elbowed the other man for a reply.
He looked up from under his brow, directly at Elin as if the guard wasn’t there, startling him with moonlit-silver eyes. “I’m no threat to you. There was just a…misunderstanding with these other gentlemen earlier, and they don’t quickly forget.”
Elin found, thankfully, that he believed the man. “Let him go then. I can’t get him cleaned up with his hands tied together.”
The guard did so and then hesitated a moment, as if unsure what do to next. “Would you like me to come in there…with you?” The guards usually gave the men of the haram their privacy in the baths—it was their job to protect, not to ogle—but Jurah clearly didn’t feel the same faith in the stranger’s intentions that Elin did.
Elin looked again into the strange, pale eyes. Seeing no malice there, he said, “We’ll be fine. You can watch the door to ensure a little privacy for our new guest, and I’ll call out if I have any need of you.”
Jurah looked uncertain, but released the man, clearly feeling himself on the subordinate end of the equation in this interaction.
Elin stepped forward and opened the door to the baths, gesturing for the man to follow. “It’s just a bath, really,” he said to the skeptical Jurah as he closed the door behind them.
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In one of my other posts, I wrote a bit about my love of food and cooking, and how that's been shaped by my family's move to a situation where we grow a lot of our own produce and try to make do with what's on hand. Here, I'm going to share a few of my best recipes from the homestead:
Creamy Garlic Zucchini Dip
4 cups grated zucchini
8 oz cream cheese
3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup grated jack or other mild white cheese
-In a large frying pan, cook the zucchini over medium heat, uncovered, until much of the water has cooked off. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking or browning and encourage the liquid to evaporate. Cook until there is no free liquid left in the pan and the zucchini volume has been reduced to about one cup. This will take 30 minutes or so.
-While the zucchini cooks, combine cream cheese, garlic, salt, and half the grated cheese in a mixing bowl. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
-Add the cooked zucchini to the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread evenly in a baking dish and top with the rest of the grated cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbling and lightly browned on top.
-Serve with corn chips, crackers, pita bread, or toast for dipping.
1 cup pumpkin (or other winter squash) puree
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup oat flour (can be prepared by whizzing 1 cup rolled oats in a blender)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1//8 teaspoon ground cloves
-Mix wet ingredients in one bowl and dry in another, then add wet to dry and stir well to combine. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.
-Heat a griddle or frying pan to medium – about 250 F on an electric griddle.
-Scoop a scant quarter cup of batter per pancake. Because the batter is thick and not very runny, you will probably need to spread each cake flat with a wet finger, to a thickness of about half an inch.
-Cook for 3 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for 90 more seconds on the other side. Because the batter is thick, usual pancake tricks like watching for bubbles to come through will not work. It's best to go by time.
-Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup butter, melted
1 ½ cups almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups grated mild vegetables (zucchini, carrot, beet...)
½ cup chopped nuts
-Preheat oven to 325 F.
-In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
-Using an immersion blender or standard blender, blend eggs, ½ cup raisins (NOT ALL THE RAISINS), vanilla, and butter to a smooth puree.
-Add blended mixture to dry mixture and stir until smooth.
-Add vegetables, nuts, and remaining raisins and stir to combine.
-Pour batter into lined muffin tins, filling each about ¾ full.
-Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
I hope you enjoy this little taste of my kitchen. I know recipes might seem like a strange thing for an author to share on their blog tour, but cooking is a huge part of my life and my most reliable creative outlet. Even when I don't have the time to write or create in other ways, we still have to eat.
Meet the Author
RL Mosswood lurks in the depths of the Pacific Northwest rainforest, where they dabble in queer fiction in an attempt to add a little magic to their otherwise mundane existence.
9/25 Divine Magazine
9/26 Love Bytes
9/27 My Fiction Nook
9/28 Happily Ever Chapter
9/28 Drops of Ink
9/28 Bayou Book Junkie
9/29 Zipper Rippers
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