QSFer Jon Keys has a new MM high fantasy romance book out:
After achieving the impossible and releasing their people from the Varas slavers, Anan and Terja, a spellweaver and spellspinner, start the arduous journey back to their homeland. A winter trek across the grasslands is dangerous enough, but the traitor, Xain, is tasked with recapturing the slaves, and failure will mean his death. As added insurance, the Varas High Regent hires a Triad of legendary Ubica assassins and assigns a full regiment of his personal guards, along with their captain, to the task. Their mission is clear: recapture the escaped Talac slaves destined for the Varas pleasure houses—and the bed of the High Regent—at any cost.
The newly freed Talac travel toward their homelands with the full knowledge they are likely being pursued. The flight westward is fraught with new and unexpected dangers as Anan and Terja struggle to save their tribe. The battle for shelter, food, and a way to defend themselves becomes an all-consuming task, but they are reminded by the avatars of their gods that all is not as it appears.
Obsidian Series Book Two
THE FINAL strands of Llyca’s unraveling drifted past the tops of the massive featherleaf trees the Talac sheltered beneath. They’d had far too many last rites so far as Terja was concerned. Every day they moved closer to their homeland and farther from the Varas who had held them captive, but for the ones who were dying, it was not enough. Llyca joined the Great Weaving shortly after they had stopped for the night at one of the islands of trees scattered across the eastern hills. The sun touching the western horizon served as a reminder of their goal: the unending sea of grass, and the massive earth lodges that made up their winter village. The region’s blazing hot summers and brutally cold winters made it an inhospitable land, but it was home to the Kuri clan of the Talac people. His home. But Terja worried none of the Kuri they’d rescued would survive the trip.
Known for their fine weavings, the clan and their herds were so intertwined that they shared a name. For as long as any of the Talac Elders could recall, the weavings of kuri fiber were the hallmark of the Kuri clan. A clan almost wiped from the savannas by the Varas and Xain, the traitorous Talac who aided them. The band of slavers attacked the Talac because of their value as pleasure slaves. The velvet covering the spellweavers was a sexual addiction to many of the Varas, including the High Regent. The people who survived and were trekking to the Kuri winter village had suffered many days of abuse and neglect after their capture, and subsequent rescue, by Terja and Anan, with some guidance from the gods. Now they had lost another, and he knew Anan took each death as a personal failure. As Llyca’s last fiber disappeared from sight, Terja felt the same sense of defeat he did each time they sent someone to the Great Weaving.
“She shouldn’t have died. What am I doing wrong?” Anan asked.
Terja studied his twining for a moment before shaking his head. “Anan, she was free. She died a free woman. You gave her that.”
He shook his head. “No. I’m past the guilt of trying to save everyone. But we shouldn’t have so many injuries that aren’t improving. We certainly shouldn’t still be losing people to wound fever. Our kilt panels were filled with the matama you spun from us. And even though some colors have been used and the thread faded to dust, my healing weavings should be working.”
Terja thought for a moment. “What about the trap Xain set inside Joven? The twisted healing warped him until he tried to kill you. That bit of treachery almost cost your life, and Xain was the one who crippled many of the captives.”
Anan’s lips narrowed to a thin line. “That isn’t something I’d forget. I checked for traps in the wounds, but found none. I don’t think he had the time. But the cuts Xain made on the Talac who were captive won’t heal.”
Terja slowed his pace for a moment then stopped. “They possessed Ubica locks….”
Anan spun on his mate. “The assassin people? You think Xain had one of their spiritknives?”
“The former captives are slowly dying. Their wounds will not heal. The Elders said the Ubica smiths could embed their blades with forces, something similar to matama.”
Anan let out a dismissive snort. “That’s just a story for Iceweaver’s season.”
Terja shook his head and considered his twining for several moments. “The Varas believe we spellspinners are the healers. They pursue us in the hope of finding a skilled healer while in truth we velvetless spellspinners could do little more than the Varas could do themselves. I have a few skills given to me from the First Twining.”
Anan considered him for several moments before speaking. “It can’t hurt to weave a healing targeting a spiritknife. All I’ve been looking for is twisted matama. I know little of the assassins’ weapons and how they function.”
A heartbeat later, Terja shrugged. “I don’t remember much either. The spellspinner Elders were strangely silent on the assassin people. It is said they always work in threes, and each member has a specific role as dictated by their gods. One of the Elders called them Ironweavers. Their talent in the smithy is as extensive as ours at the looms. But they are not hired for their talent to create, but their ability to destroy. They are masters of their weapons.” He struggled to remember more, but then looked to Anan with a frown. “That’s all. They didn’t tell me anything else. Perhaps to be certain I was not the object of a Ubica contract.”
“I’m sure the two of us can stop three Ubica, regardless of their reputation. We wiped out a Varas slaver company and rescued the Talac they had taken.”
The conversation concerned Terja. “Hopefully we’ll never find out. Come, let’s see if Xain wielded a spiritknife.”
Writer of LGBT fiction. Lover of all foods sugar coated. Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, and comic books. A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.