Throwback Thursday | Blood on Sand

Last year, I had this idea that I would write a post about one of my backlist books now and then – it didn’t really turn out that way. My own fault. I’m a sucker for deadlines, and I can colour code my life like a madwoman (a sign I really am a madwoman, I’ve been told) but when it came to this I didn’t set up a schedule, so it never happened.

Therefore I’m making a commitment. During 2019 I will post a little something about a story I’ve written, and I will do it once a month. We’re talking 12 TBT posts, and I’m starting with Blood on Sand.

iguanaIn June Blood on Sand turns four years old. How crazy is that? The sad part is I always meant to write a sequel, I’ve written 20k or so on one, and I still remember who’s supposed to fall in love with whom. Normally, I forget my characters’ name somewhere around release day, so that it’s been four years and I still remember what I had planned has to mean something, right?

Blood on Sand was written as part of Goodreads M/M Romance Don’t Read in the Closet event, that means it was written to a prompt given to me by a reader. That is such a fun way to write a story. I don’t think I ever would’ve picked a lizard shifter as a main character (though come to think of it, I pretty much did that in It Doesn’t Translate, but I made him an alien instead), but the picture to the prompt was on a humanoid lizard on his knees (you can see it here) and a werewolf.

For a while there, I knew all there was to know about iguanas, and I realise that if I ever decide to actually go back to the half-written sequel, I’ll have to read up on them again.

So we have a slave lizard shifter and a werewolf who owns him. In the weekends they hold gladiatorial games where the slaves fight to their death while the werewolves place bets on who will win. But gambling doesn’t always turn out the way we plan.

It’s commonly known that werewolves are ruled by their sense of smell (yes, it is, so just play along here), if they spend lots of time with someone they’ll become protective of them because they’ll start to consider that individual part of their pack. Tedor, the minotaur leader, knows this.

“Don’t you see that you’ve just given Tedor power over you, over us?” Satul stopped when he came close to the latte-coloured wall, turned around, and walked back towards the office door. Again.

“Are you a psychic, Satul?” To annoy Satul, he leaned back in his leather chair and put his bare feet on the crescent desk. He almost laughed when Satul came to a sudden stop and whirled around to growl at him. Since he was in his human form, the growl was rather pathetic, but that only made it funnier.

“I don’t need to be a fucking psychic, and I can’t believe you’re so fucking dumb!” Wojtek’s growl wasn’t much more impressive than Satul’s had been, but he was pleased to see his Beta lower his gaze, even if it only was for a few moments before he continued. “Don’t you see it? Having him live here will make you care about him.”

“I will not. Why would I ever care about one of our warriors? They’re pawns, merchandise. We fight them till they die, or we sell them or trade them. Why would I ever get emotionally attached to something like that?”

“Because he’s in your home.” Satul slumped down on the armchair by the window, and Wojtek’s brows creased. He couldn’t see how it would matter if the reptilian were in his den—he would still be a reptilian. It wasn’t like he would start to care just because he saw him now and then. It could even be good to have him there. He could do some housework and still fight once it was Friday again—maybe not next Friday, but the one after that.

The pack healer had thrown him in the wine cellar to make him fall asleep. Not that he’d been conscious when they’d got home, but he guessed everyone felt safer if they kept him dazed. They’d stitched him up, but it still wasn’t certain if he’d live, so he couldn’t see why Satul was so upset.

“You will smell him.” Satul held up a hand before letting it drop then shook his head.

Wojtek frowned. Of course, he would smell him. No one could be in his home without him smelling them. “So?”

“So? So! What do you think will happen when you’ve smelled him for a couple of weeks, and Tedor wants to pit his top puppet against your creepy-crawly?” Satul put a lot of emphasis on your, and laughter bubbled in Wojtek’s chest. Satul was such an idiot sometimes.

“That’s what you’re afraid of? That I’ll think of him as mine, as one of us?” He laughed harder. It felt good to let some of the tension go. He looked at Satul, and new waves of laughter spilt out of his mouth. It was just too insane. He would never include a fucking lizard in the pack, not even if he had to be close to one all the time.

He wondered what it would be like to sleep next to a crawler. Were they cold all the time?

Satul sighed. “You think it’s funny? Don’t you think it’s what Tedor is hoping for? You think you’ll be unaffected by having him close. If this weren’t such a bad idea, I would love to bet against you. Come to think of it; I will. Let’s make a bet.”

“A bet? What are we betting on?” Wojtek loved a good bet, and it would be a great way to put Satul in his place, again.

“I’m betting that in three weeks Tedor will want a rematch with…the lizard—we need to name him. Anyway, I’m betting that it’ll take three weeks, at the most, before Tedor approaches you about a rematch, and by then you’ll be too attached to fight him.”

“Why wouldn’t I want to fight him? He’s our best warrior. He brings in the highest bets, and the crowd loves seeing him. It’s a good show every time we run him. He’s survived for so long that people are betting against him just because they think he can’t live much longer.”

“Exactly. Everyone will want him to fight. Everyone but you, because by then you’ll have smelled him enough to make that pea-brain of yours think of him as a werewolf—he’ll be as important to you as the rest of us.”

As I wrote above, Blood on Sand was written for the DRitC even and is therefore free.

Blood on SandWhat would you do when the only way out is death?

Zoe is a lizard shifter meant to live far away from the cold north. He was taken from his homelands, captured, and forced to fight in a pit like a modern-day gladiator. After three and a half years of suffering, he has given up. He has come up with the perfect plan that will force his master to kill him, but the killing blow doesn’t come.

Wojtek doesn’t want to lose his best fighter. It’s not that he cares for the crawler, but it would be such a waste to kill him. To save his life he makes a deal with his opponent that allows the lizardian to come live with him. Everyone knows werewolves tend to get a little attached to the people surrounding them, but Wojtek doesn’t think it’ll be a problem to have his slave in his home and then throw him in the pit to fight to the death every Friday night. He could never care for a slave, could he?

A Case of Possession

I read just about everything, or I like to believe that I do, but it’s not true. I don’t read books with religious themes if I can help it, I don’t read YA/NA if I can avoid it, I don’t read menage unless I’m in a reading challenge that demands it, and I hardly ever read historicals.

But, there is always a but, isn’t there? I do love some of the YA/NA books I’ve read, I have a few (very few but they exist) religious-themed books that I’ve really enjoyed, and some of my favourite books are historicals.

I often say I don’t read them unless it’s Jordan L. Hawk, and then I might add ‘And I really liked The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles.’ I did love The Magpie Lord so why it took me so long to I pick up A Case of Possession I do not know.

Once I did, though, I couldn’t put it down. Giant rats! How brilliant. And Lord Crane *swoon*

I love the Britishness in these books, really the world needs more British books LOL. I wouldn’t mind going on a trip with Steph and Lord Crane to China, but for now, I’m just happy to have been able to curl up on the sofa and disappear into the magic world of magpies and lords.

If you haven’t read The Magpie Lord, I suggest that you do, I really do.

Looking for more books with magic users? Check these out.

A Case of PossessionMagic in the blood. Danger in the streets.

Lord Crane has never had a lover quite as elusive as Stephen Day. He knows Stephen’s job as justiciar requires secrecy, but the magician is doing his disappearing act more than seems reasonable—especially since Crane will soon return to his home in China. When a blackmailer threatens to expose their illicit relationship, there’s only one thing stopping Crane from leaving the country he loathes: Stephen.

Stephen has problems of his own. As he investigates a plague of giant rats sweeping London, his sudden increase in power, boosted by his blood-and-sex bond with Crane, is rousing suspicion that he’s turned warlock. With all eyes on him, the threat of exposure grows. Stephen could lose his friends, his job and his liberty over his relationship with Crane. He’s not sure if he can take that risk much longer. Crane isn’t sure if he can ask him to.

The rats are closing in, and something has to give…

Change of Heart – For When You Want to Curl up With a Werepanther

First post of the year! It should probably have been about the year that has past and what my hopes and dreams are for 2019, but I’ve just listened to Change of Heart by Mary Calmes. I read this back in 2014, and I remember being a little uncomfortable, but now I saw it as an audiobook in the library catalogue, one of very few M/M books available, and I figured I can ‘re-read’ just for the fun of it.

I’m torn. I like Mary Calmes, I’ve read many Mary Calmes books throughout the years, and you know what you’re getting into. I love the A Matter of Time books – Jory is one of my favourite characters for when I’m longing for those not-really-believable-but-yet-funny-and-quite-hot reads, but Change of Heart? I don’t know.

Jin is a werepanther, and he’s a reah which means he is to mate with the leader of a tribe. The only problem is that he’s a guy and the reah is supposed to be a woman. He was beaten and thrown out of his tribe because of what he is and has spent the last eight or so years running.

I have no problem with there being a lot of ‘My Mate‘ and ‘Mine‘ when in the destined-mate trope but here it was almost all we got from Logan, the alpha who is Jin’s mate. And when there is a lot of ‘Mine‘ and sex instead of communication, I lose interest.

So…I still love Calmes, I’ll continue to read her books whenever I feel like it, but I think I’ll leave Jin and Logan to their destiny…again. But, it’s a new take on shifter stories or at least lots of new words to explain pack/pride/tribe life.

Looking for shifter reads, check these out.

Change of HeartAs a young gay man—and a werepanther—all Jin Rayne yearns for is a normal life. Having fled his past, he wants nothing more than to start over, but Jin’s old life doesn’t want to let him go. When his travels bring him to a new city, he crosses paths with the leader of the local were-tribe.

Logan Church is a shock and an enigma, and Jin fears that Logan is both the mate he fears and the love of his life. Jin doesn’t want to go back to the old ways, and mating would irrevocably tie him to them. But Jin is the mate Logan needs at his side to help him lead his tribe, and he won’t give Jin up so easily. It will take time and trust for Jin to discover the joy in belonging to Logan and how to love without restraint.