Zoe wants to die. He’s had enough of the cold, the starvation, and the blood. He has done everything he can to make his owner kill him, so why doesn’t he? Sitting in the middle of a fighting arena like a modern gladiator, he is waiting for the killing blow…but it never comes.
Wojtek doesn’t care about the crawler bleeding out on the sand, he doesn’t. But losing him would mean losing his best combatant, and he can’t afford that. Instead of letting the life seep out of his fighter he strikes a deal with the owner of the opponent, but his plan backfires and he ends up with a lizard shifter in his wine cellar. A fucking crawler! That he would be a strapping young man if he put on some weight has nothing to do with anything.
Zoe fell to his knees. Every wheezing breath burned in his chest, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care. It would all be over soon. The harsh glare from the spotlight made it hard to see anything beyond the blood-soaked sand in front of him, but it didn’t matter. If he could endure only a few more seconds, a few more agonising breaths, it would all be over.
The cheering and booing turned into a buzzing sound and faded into the background. Spots swam before his eyes, and he could no longer see what was happening around him. It didn’t matter. He’d done what he set out to do, and now he would die.
His opponent coughed and gasped behind him, still crawling around, but unable to get to his feet. He would live—if his master let him. Zoe lowered his wooden shield and broken spear, and waited for the strike to come. He kept his gaze down; he didn’t need to see the top dog’s face to know he was furious. His powerful claws were probably curled around the stone railing separating the spectators from the combatants at that very moment. The heavily muscled arms, or whatever they called their forelimbs, could snap his neck. He didn’t think that would happen, though. Using his claws to rip Zoe’s throat out would be far more entertaining—and people came here to be amused. Blood splatter would fly through the air, raining down on the viewers closest to him while he twitched and bled out on the arena floor. They would cheer in their growly way, and everyone would be happy with the result. Almost everyone. Even his hazy mind could sort out that the Alpha wouldn’t be pleased.
He lowered his head and waited. Could he have done anything differently? It seemed like an awful lot of work just to get killed. He could have just cheated, stopped defending himself, but his pride wouldn’t let him. This too was cheating in a way; fights were always to the death and he hadn’t killed, nor had he been killed, yet. This felt more honourable in some way. Why he even cared, he didn’t know.
The snarls coming from the first row of the tiered seating penetrated the buzzing in his head. He didn’t understand these beasts in their changed forms, but he could sense their wrath.
What was taking them so long? It should be over by now. He’d forced their hand, and there was no other way out. They would have to kill him. If they didn’t, they would lose face, and he knew they’d never let that happen. He would’ve smiled, if he’d been able to in his lizard form. But he wasn’t, and it didn’t matter anyway. It would soon be over. He would finally be free.
Blood on Sand was written as a part of the 2015 Don’t Read in the Closet event and is therefore free! You’ll find it here:
If you’re a member of Goodreads M/M Romance Group you’ll find it there as well.
”This a paranormal shifter world exploration on slavery which includes a gentle hint of a burgeoning m/m romance. It would spoil it to explain anymore. The prose is beautiful, disturbing, painful but hopeful. I had this book for free but would happily have paid for this. A novella that punches above its weight.” — Miss WallE (Full review)
”This is the type of story I will finish and go immediately after to amazon to look for the next book in the series.” — Lila Leigh Hunter (Full review)
”The characters are interesting, the idea of lizard shifters and wolf shifters is fascinating, and the setup – one warrior at the mercy of the other and waiting for death, created immediate narrative tension.” — Eve (Full review)
”This is one of the most imaginative shifter stories I have read in a while.” — Serena Yates (Full review)
”This is a brilliant, moving story, with cast of wonderful secondary characters. I sincerely hope that we see more of them in the future.” — Amy Spector (Full review)
“I can’t even begin to describe how unique this story was.” — Kristan (Full review)