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.
In 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.
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?