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ANNOUNCEMENT: The Chosen, by Scott William Simmons

QSFer Scott William Simmons has a new MM fantasy book out in his Gwerin series: The Chosen.

Villis Dane and Cremin Vokes. One man revered for his indomitable cruelty and his desire to conquer all that lay before him. One man reviled for his elitist status and how men of power are fascinated with him. Two men in love. Two men attempting to escape the thralldom of their homeland, the Menden Empire.

But Ciaran, the god of chaos, sees and hears the changes that are creeping across the Gwerin lands. Seducing Dane and Vokes to his cause, Ciaran not only uses his power to help both men to carve out a niche for themselves in the mortal world, but to quench his bestial desires.

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Someone coughed.

The sound of someone clearing their throat came again, followed by what sounded like the pages of a book being turned. Sounds that disturbed Vokes’ sleep.

Rolling over to curl up against his partner, Vokes woke with a start when he realized Dane was not lying next to him. Raising his head from the pillow Vokes saw that Dane, who had not bothered to dress, was seated at the table in their room. Dane had also lit a couple of candles and a lantern to continue reading Vokes’ journal for the pinkish light from the oncoming dawn was still too weak to lighten the room.

“Morning.” Dane called over his shoulder, not bothering to look at Vokes, who was wiping the gunk from his eyes. Focused on Vokes’ journal, Dane thumbed between two pages, transfixed at reading the text over and over again in an attempt to make sure he understood what had been written.“

So tell me my little historian,” Dane turned to his partner, a look of nonchalance on his face, his demeanor belying the low feral growl that had entered Dane’s voice. “What does “The little boy wants to play captain with his toy pirate ship” mean?”

Vokes froze, knowing full well what Dane was asking. For it was a note Vokes had scribbled in the middle of his writings at the beginning of his journal.

Vokes’ hesitancy was all Dane needed as an answer. Growling, his face darkening in anger, the chair fell backwards with a clatter as Dane leapt at Vokes like some wild animal attacking its prey. Tearing the covers from Vokes’ body, Dane wrestled his partner onto his stomach. Ignoring Vokes’ yelps of surprise, Dane took Vokes’ left arm and began twisting it so that Vokes’ left hand came painfully close to touching the back of his head. Ignoring Vokes’ cursing and pleas for mercy, Dane pulled his partner into a kneeling position while forcing the man’s head to the bed. When Vokes struggled to free himself, Dane placed a foot onto Vokes’ ankles to keep him from moving before tossing the journal to the bed.

Their naked bodies rubbing against each other, Dane switched his left hand for his right to keep Vokes’ hand firmly behind his back. With his free hand Dane flipped through the pages of Vokes’ journal until he found what he was looking for before jamming the book under Vokes’ head.

“And what about that line?” Dane roared, pushing harder against Vokes’ body.

Of course, with his head tilted to the right while the side of his face was being pressed against the journal’s pages, Vokes couldn’t read a single word.

“No?” Dane was incredulous that Vokes, who was sucking in his breath so as to not drool on his work, was not responding to his demand. “Well let me remind you!”

Dane then read a quick note about a Shepherd Thais holding back a handful of calves from going to market.

“Obviously Shepherd Thais is Mose’s uncle Elso (the man who had captained the downed vessel named Thais). So tell me what the rest means!”

“Does it matter?” Vokes spat into the blankets of the bed. “Ulak Elso is dead! The Thais is lost and we have no cargo. Arghhh!”

Vokes couldn’t help shouting, more out of surprise than pain, when Dane’s hand let go of his wrist to harshly smack Vokes’ buttocks. The move did give Vokes the opportunity to twist free and pull away from his partner. But Dane was just as quick as the man beneath him. Dane straddled Vokes before he could escape from the bed. Grabbing Vokes by his dark brown wavy hair, Dane pulled his right hand back into a fist, ready to strike the man.

“No, no! I yield! I yield!” Vokes yelled, raising his hands to protect his face, when he saw the flat steel two-fingered ring that Dane used to beat people about to be used on him. “Please, I yield!”

Sweat glistening on his chest, Dane lowered his hands, remaining seated atop Vokes, demanding that he talk.

“They were notes.” Vokes started, keeping his eyes fixed on Dane’s bare chest, afraid to look the man in the eyes. “Information I overheard about how you and your clan were going to undercut my cousin, Lyro Stowe.”

“How many more of these “notes” have you scribbled in this book?”

“Only a half dozen. But my cousin does not know I was collecting information on you or your family.”

“I swear!” Vokes yelled, raising a hand to shield his face when Dane again raised his fist to strike. “I wrote all that down before we were married. To get back into Stowe’s good graces when we returned home.  You were meant to  hand me back over to him.”

“I married you. I was meant to kill you. That is still an option!”

“Please, Dane! Stowe. . . my cousin would have beat me for any information on you. What was I to do?” Vokes pleaded as he tried to reason with his partner. “You would have done the same thing in my position. I would never betray you. Not now. Please.”

Author Bio

Scott William Simmons is an artist and author based in Rhode Island. A painter, Scott utilizes a singular palate and style on a wide range of subjects.  For the past fifteen years, Scott has successfully shown his work and has been represented by galleries in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island. As an author, Scott brings the same vibrancy found on his canvases to his written works.

Particularly active in the visual arts community of Rhode Island, Scott is a current member of the Providence Art Club, Wickford Art Association, and the Foundry Artists Association. He has served on the Education Committee of the Providence Art Club since 2018, and formerly served as Chairperson of both Marketing and Membership for the Foundry Artists Association. Scott is also a member of the Association of Rhode Island Authors. He is a past member of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, the Guild of Natural Science Illustration, and the Rhode Island Watercolor Society. 

Scott has exhibited widely and is currently represented by Dryden Galleries in Providence. His works are held in private collections throughout the Northeast and beyond. Scott earned his Certificate in Natural Science Illustration as well as his Certificate in Drawing and Painting Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). He holds his Associates Degree in Fine and Studio Arts from Bristol Community College in Fall River, Massachusetts.



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