QSFer C.K. Gold has a new MM fantasy romance out:
Gigantic beasts shaped by a mysterious curse are all that remain of a peaceful civilization. The beasts have razed entire nations, leaving only isolated settlements of refugees behind. Iskan, a former soldier, and Terebin, a former monk, have left the shelter of a fortress on a quest to find a solution. There’s just one catch… Terebin is accursed too, and can barely rein in his monstrous side.
Iskan wrestles with his conscience as they travel together. He has sworn himself to Terebin’s service, which includes a promise not to kill anything – not even rampaging monsters, even if that’s what keeping Terebin safe requires. Terebin is a pacifist, as were all his people, but Iskan comes from a nation that prizes strength and skill at arms; leaving enemies alive behind them grates against his desire to protect Terebin. And then there’s Iskan’ other quandary: he is closer to the source of the curse than he’s comfortable with, and perhaps even closer than he knows.
Iskan and Terebin struggle to put their love above clashing values as they journey to the heart of what happened to Terebin’s people and what must be done in the name of justice.
His Faithful Sword is the direct sequel and conclusion to His Catalyst. This series contains violence and explicit sex.
C.K. is giving away one copy of the previous book in the series, “His Catalyst”, on kindle – just comment below with your email for a chance to win.
The book was somewhere beneath the vine-choked masonry. Iskan snapped the vines, nearly wrist thick in some places, to get at the mound beneath. He dug bare handed into masonry and bones riddled with rootlets. Mehrab had escaped, but his book hadn’t. Iskan braced one foot against a fallen section of wall and prized the book free, tearing its wrapping in the process. The binding was ruined, but at least he’d found it.
“The bastard used this evil thing somehow,” Iskan said.
“Not evil,” Terebin said, and spat grit. “It’s just a book.” He held out his hands.
Reluctant, Iskan handed the book over. He didn’t like the cover. It felt like leather, but weren’t foul grimoires bound in human skin? The touch of it made his own skin crawl. It was brittle yet somehow greasy.
Terebin opened the gashed cover to reveal pages that had seen better days. The ink was faded and the pages were stuck together with mildew. More, it had the lingering stench of old death, strong enough to mingle with the vines’ perfume. Terebin traced a wheel on the inside cover, biting his lip in thought.
Then the rumbling came.
“Time to go,” Iskan said, and yanked on Terebin’s sleeve when he didn’t respond quickly enough. The beast wasn’t visible yet, but that just meant putting distance between them and it while there was time was all the more important. Iskan didn’t want to encounter a burrower here, not when so many of the ruins looked like they might still collapse.
Terebin stumbled after him finally, snapping the book shut and wedging it under his arm. Iskan followed the clearest road, but found himself stumbling, too, tripping over vines he didn’t remember protruding so much. It hit him when he saw one shift.
The beast wasn’t coming to them — they were already inside the beast. As though it sensed his recognition, great vines tore themselves free of the walls and road and lifted in the air, towering over them both in the sunlight. The flowers were almost translucent with the sun behind them. He could see pollen wafting in the air.
Then the vines smashed down. The road fragmented beneath them and then there was nothing.
C. K. Gold comes from the hazy hills of Appalachian country. She moved to New England to pursue her own romance story and wound up settling down. She left the corporate compliance life for freelancing in 2015, and now spends much of her time writing, researching, and revising with her partner.
She is a passionate cook and spends an inordinate amount of time on culinary science experiments. She keeps two cats, a postage stamp of a vegetable garden, and a suspiciously large collection of PlayStation 2 games in her home near Narragansett Bay.