Archive for the ‘Contests’ Category

If my head weren’t screwed to my body

Friday, August 21st, 2015

…I’d have lost it back in 3rd grade, latest. >.< Okay, so here's the deal: The M/M Romance Group on goodreads is celebrating its 6th Anniversary right now. Today (Friday, August 21st) is actually the 7th day of the party, and I... uh... sorta... {clears throat} I TOTALLY FORGOT I DONATED A PRIZE. Fortunately, my prize hasn't been claimed yet (I know, I know. Shocker, right?), which means you can still win it, and it's a pretty good one, if I do say so, myself. 😉 I'm giving away one chapter from a story on my Serials page (www.rowanmcbride.com/stories/serials). The chapter will be written within 60 days after the prize won, and it will be dedicated to the winner. You can choose to update any story on the Serials page. Yes, that includes Jascian. Yes, that even includes Davey. Giving away this kind of prize is a big deal for me. I never sell stories on proposal (they're always complete when I submit), I never take commissions, and I'm infamous for ignoring reader pleas. Plus, the last time anything on the Serials page was updated was November 1st, 2014, because that's how terrible I am. XD There's a bunch of ways to win, but the first step is to go to the M/M Romance Group on goodreads at https://goo.gl/duVOEA and join the group. Check out the prize vault (https://goo.gl/zdsbXm) in case a prize other than mine {gasp!} interests you. Go to https://goo.gl/4O1Wou and get your game on. If my prize isn't claimed {double gasp!} after the end of the GR celebration, then I promise to offer it up again in a separate drawing. Again, I'm really sorry to be so late about letting you know. Good Luck! -- Rowan McBride www.rowanmcbride.com PS: Computer died.  Sending this from my phone, so please let me know if there are any formatting errors since I'll be writing that chapter from here and my tablet.

Guest post from Katrina Strauss – Plus a Giveaway!

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Hey all. My good friend Katrina Strauss has just released a new story (Which I’ve read! It was much fun!), and I was very happy to invite her to my blog for my very first guest post. Even happier that she accepted.

So without further ado, here she is!

____________________

Body LanguageMany thanks to Rowan for inviting me to hang out today! I’m here to dish the dirt on my latest M/M release, Body Language. While I’m at it, I’m giving away one digital copy to one lucky blog visitor. But more on the giveaway in a bit.

My naughty new novelette was inspired by two sources. The first was a website a friend referred me to a few years ago called Guys with iPhones. (If you Google it, do so at your own NSFW risk!) Basically, it’s a site where dudes submit selfies, some quite daring ones at that. I found myself asking “What prompts a man to do this?” That question was followed by the rather authorly thought of “There’s a story here.”

Around the same time I discovered the first site, I was frequenting a BDSM dating site. (Let’s say I was doing “research” and leave it at that.) I discovered a subculture of men who sit around the house naked all day, waiting to perform on cam at a moment’s notice. I was fascinated, although not for the reasons you might think! Honestly, I found it interesting from a sociological perspective, leaving me to wonder what these guys did before the advent of the Internet and webcams. Once again, I found myself asking “What prompts a man to do this?” Once again, it was followed by the resounding thought of “There’s a story here.”

And so I sat down to write that story. And Body Language was born. Here’s a quick excerpt, followed by how to go about winning a copy for your reading pleasure:

 *****

 

EXCERPT:

 

The very idea that so many hot, horny men would willingly photograph themselves and then post it on the Body Language site stirred a strange sense of arousal in Seth. He studied one rather creative image of a tattooed goth boy who’d contorted himself on a bathroom rug to photograph his ass. The duck-print shower curtain or dusty base of the toilet in the background might have been turnoffs, but they only added to the desperate, horny tone of the moment. Seth felt his cock go completely hard.

He tugged down his sweats, revealing the solid-black star inked between his left hip and groin, his one and only piece of body art. Wasting no time, he gripped his cock and squeezed. A drop of precum slicked his thumb, indicating he was already pretty worked up. Sliding his hand up and down, he stared at the hard, lean body on the laptop screen. With what mental focus he had left, he realized the source of his arousal lay not in what he wanted to do to the guy in the picture, but that he wanted to be the guy. He wanted to be the one on the bathroom floor, his bare ass up in the air with cheeks spread wide. Seth wanted another man to look at him the same way he was looking at the goth boy.

Yeah, that’s right—down on the dirty floor, doing dirty things. Maybe get my hole tongued before I get pounded doggy style. Seth groaned and pumped his hand faster. The process usually went easier with lube, but sometimes the occasion called for a dry one, and this was one such moment. As he neared climax, a naughty thought flashed through his mind.

What if I uploaded my own picture?

 *****

 

Okay, I’m done teasing. If you’d like more, Body Language is available on Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/Body-Language-ebook/dp/B00G3LBAGS/

Or Smashwords at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/371944

 

To win a copy, simply leave a comment along with your e-mail address (example: katrina.strauss AT gmail DOT com) and your preferred digital format. If you’d like, tell me what you think motivates someone to post their family jewels online for all to see. Or tell me why you’d like to read my story. Or tell me to have a nice day. Just be sure to comment, along with your e-mail addy, before 11:59pm CST Monday, November 4th, and I’ll send the winner a copy of Body Language ASAP!

Note from Rowan: While this blog crossposts to other sites, entries for the giveaway are only valid if they’re posted in the comment section of the main blog – http://rowanmcbride.com/blog/. Thanks for entering and good luck!

Winner!

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Thank you to everyone who entered my “Some Like Janice” drawing.  I’m wicked sorry for being TWENTY-TWO DAYS late picking a winner, but the whole Google cracking down on “adult content” and my subsequent decision to integrate a WP blog into my static site took a bit longer than I had anticipated.  As you can see, it’s still a work in process. >.>

But joy! We have a winner! Congrats to britindc. I’ve sent you an email full of squee, but if you haven’t received it yet, please check your spam folder. XD

Also, thank you to everyone who said they’re going to watch “Some Like It Hot” as a result of that post, thank you for your warm words of support, and thank you for your patience with my ill-timed blog move.

You rock my socks!

 

Some Like Janice

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

I had a lot of misunderstandings as a kid. But I think that those misunderstandings happened because I was already wired differently and didn’t know it.

For example: Janice, the Muppet from The Electric Mayhem. I met her when I was around…six, maybe? When I saw her I thought she was a man in woman’s clothing, and I never mentioned that “fact” to anyone because I assumed everyone knew it. Janice was a natural part of my world. As I got older my view of her became more complex, but she was always Janice. It wasn’t until my first year in college someone decided to “correct” me, and they were pretty cruel about it as they set out the canon material that stated in no uncertain terms she was a woman. At the time I didn’t understand why it hurt so much, because I didn’t understand what was going on inside of me at all well.

Then there’s “Some Like it Hot.” A movie I saw when I was very young and remains one of my all-time favorites. When I was a kid, I didn’t understand it was a comedy. Sure, it had some truly hilarious scenes, but for me it was always about the love stories. Joe/Josephine (played by Tony Curtis), who was all about hooking up with Sugar (played by Marilyn Monroe), and Jerry/Daphne (Jack Lemmon) who suddenly won the attentions of Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown).

I loved Daphne. So, so much. While Joe pretty clearly disliked dressing and acting like a woman, the lines were much more blurred with Daphne. Even with something as basic as picking out feminine names for themselves. At first, Joe and Jerry decide on Josephine and Geraldine, but at the last second, Jerry blurts out that her name is Daphne, earning a look of confused consternation from Joe. When Joe grabs her for explanation, Daphne replies:

Daphne: Well, I never did like the name Geraldine.

Names are important. Especially when you’re picking out your own. I never liked the name my parents picked out for me, and for a long time I felt guilty about it. That scene, that one little line, gave me permission to think about what I might like to be called instead, and that whatever I chose didn’t necessarily have to be a retooled version of what I had.

And then there are the scenes with Osgood. They are funny, and I laugh every time I watch them, but for a long time I didn’t understand they were meant to be *gags.* I thought their relationship was like any other romcom relationship, and I adored it. Especially their final scene, which is also the final scene in the movie:

Osgood: I called Mama. She was so happy she cried. She wants you to have her wedding gown. It’s white lace.

Daphne: Yeah Osgood, I can’t get married in your mother’s dress. [nervous laughter] She and I… Well we’re not build the same way.

Osgood: We can have it altered.

Daphne: Oh no you don’t! Osgood, I’m gonna level with you. We can’t get married at all.

Osgood: Why not?

Daphne: Well, in the first place, I’m not a natural blonde.

Osgood: Doesn’t matter.

Daphne: I smoke! I smoke all the time!

Osgood: I don’t care.

Daphne: Well, I have a terrible past. For three years now, I’ve been living with a saxophone player.

Osgood: I forgive you.

Daphne: I can never have children!

Osgood: We can adopt some.

Daphne: But you don’t understand, Osgood! Ohh…

[Daphne pulls off xyr wig]

Daphne: [In a much deeper voice] I’m a man!

Osgood: [shrugs] Well, nobody’s perfect!

See? See? Osgood loves Daphne for who she is. The stuff on the outside doesn’t matter to him. That means there’s hope for me, right? I mean… right?

I didn’t know it was supposed to be a gag. And now I choose to believe it wasn’t. I choose to believe that Osgood and Daphne got married and that Janice is far more complex than her bio on Wikipedia would have me imagine.

The scene I quoted above is my favorite scene in “Some Like It Hot,” as well as one of my favorite scenes of all time. Not just because it’s funny and that last line gave me such a terrific happily ever after, but because through that entire exchange, where Daphne’s desperately trying to convince Osgood that they can’t get married, she never once says “I don’t love you” or “I don’t want to be with you.” In the grand scheme of things, none of the other reasons matter, and Osgood happily has an answer to each one until we get to his “nobody’s perfect!” line. Daphne has no response to that, and the last moments of the film show her confused and taken aback, in a “Holy shit, is this really an option?” kind of way. It was a revelation for her.

It was a revelation for me.

And that, right there, is why we need more movies/shows/cartoons/comics/books that tell gender queer and trans* stories. Because I was lucky enough to meet Janice and Daphne and take them to heart, but how many other kids who were just like me didn’t have the luxury of accidently misinterpreting what they saw on TV? How many children had the “truth” of those characters explained to them long before they were old enough to build their own truths, their own stories?

How many kids never had a chance to discover that a third option even exists?

I think we’ve come a long way since the day I met Janice. Networks like Hub are airing shows like SheZow that I couldn’t have imagined existing even five years ago.

I’d like to see more shows I couldn’t imagine when I was a child. Because I could imagine a *lot.* We all could, even if we weren’t aware. Some liked Joe. Some liked Kermit. Some liked Daphne. Some liked Janice.

Some still do.

_______________________________

Note: This post is part of the NER LGBT Pride Blog Fest. It lasts all June, and there are a lot of authors posting interesting articles this month. The site is also giving away its own prizes, so if you’d like to read and enter, go to http://naughtyeditionreviews.com/ and please check it out.

I am giving away an e-copy of Paul’s Dream, as well as a never-before-seen expanded print of the cover designed by the fabulous Anne Cain.



Nice, yeah? I’ll sign it if you want. 😉

To enter, all you have to do is join my newsletter (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rowan_mcbride) and post a comment with your email address below. If you’re already a member of the newsletter–no worries. All you have to do is post here.

I’ll announce the winner July 1st. Good luck. XD

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

The Naughty Edition Reviews Blog Fest has begun! For the month of June, go to http://naughtyeditionreviews.com/ to celebrate LGBT Pride, read interesting articles, and win a variety of prizes. Lots of authors will be featured, including yours truly on the 13th.






PS: The Fest started on the 1st, and I’m very sorry for being so late in letting you know. I’d been having some technical difficulties. 🙁

"Want Me" review and giveaway

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

click here to buy the book!

There’s a great review for “Want Me” posted on Sid Love’s blog. If you have time, hop on over and read it. You’ll also have a chance to win a copy of the book. 🙂

CONTEST ENDS: 10th May, 2013 @ 11:59PM (Central Time)

Good News and Bad News and More Good News

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Okay. Bad news first, yeah?

Bad news: As you’ve probably noticed, Chains wasn’t out on Christmas Eve. But I will do my best to have a January release date.

Good news: Want Me  has been picked up by Loose Id! That means it’ll be out in e-book format soon. How cool is that? The only thing that bums me out is that I had to take down the awesome cover art from the first edition, which had been created for me by the amazing Ulf. On the bright side, I’m looking forward to seeing the new interpretation from Loose Id.

To give the first cover a proper send-off, I’m giving away all the Want Me prints I have left. They include two 4×6 glossies, four 8.5×11 prints on card stock, five 3×5 prints on card stock, and one…well I don’t know what it is exactly. It’s translucent and has a sticker strip on the left-hand side, so I’m guessing it’s meant to be slipped inside notebooks or folders. I don’t even remember buying it. XD

Sooo many Want Me pics


If you’d like one of these prints, send an email to mcbride_rowan@yahoo.com (mcbride_rowan at yahoo dot com) with “I want a Want Me print” in the subject line. Please list the four items above, with the one you want most at the top and so on. First-come-first-serve, but I’ll do my best to send you the print you like most. Don’t forget to include your snail mail address.

And now for some more good news!

One Good Hand/One Good Year received an Honorable Mention from the Rainbow Awards! Sci-fi/fantasy category.

Rainbow Awards 2012 Honorable Mention - SciFi and Fantasy Category


I’m stoked. Are you stoked? I’m totally stoked. 😀

Pepero Day Winners!

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

And they are, completely chosen at random, listed below:

* Liz Brooks
* Tomas Santiago-Lopez
* kathleen
* earringfan

If I do not have your email addy, please contact me forthwith at mcbride_rowan@yahoo.com (mcbride_rowan (at) yahoo (dot) com) and please include your snail mail address because, alas, it is not yet technologically possible to email Pepero. What’s up with that? And no hover-boards, either. >.>

Congrats and thank you to everyone who entered! It was hella fun. 🙂

— Rowan

Pepero Day!

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

It is November 11th, which means today is Pepero Day, and it is time to give heartfelt gifts of chocolate-dipped cookie-stick goodness to your loved ones.

For those of you who don’t know, Pepero Day is a *totally* manufactured holiday in Korea that caught on and is now awesome. It is always November 11th because that makes the date 11-11, which looks like the Pepero sticks. How wonderful is that?

The day is also celebrated to a lesser extent in Japan as Pocky Day. In both countries, November is fabulous because all sorts of special editions of the snacks are released. Brightly colored boxes of joy all over the place.

Can you tell I’m excited?

I, personally, am celebrating the same way I did last year. By giving away some Pepero goodness. Check the giant box:

Giant Box of Nude Pepero


I’m also giving away one small box of Almond Crush Pepero (Today is like Valentine’s Day and it’s a whole box of crush.)

Almond Crush Pepero


And AND I have two boxes of Fran. One person will get the chocolate, and one person will get the white. What is Fran, you say? Why it is much like Pepero and Pocky but hella decadent. And it’s in stick form so it qualifies in today’s celebration.

fran


Can you tell how much I love you?

That’s a total of four Pepero Day gifts. All you have to do to win one of these is to comment on this (http://rowanmcbride.blogspot.com/) blog post. You have until 11:59pm tonight (11-11-12), Central Standard Time to play.

Winners will be announced on this blog (http://rowanmcbride.blogspot.com/) 11-13-12 (Nov. 13, 2012).

So play! Love me back by making a comment! XD

Happy Pepero Day!




It’s also Veteran’s Day. As I understand it, Sandy knocked out the Manhattan VA Hospital as well as the regional Veterans’ Assistance office. If you are one of the vets affected, the Maddow Blog has a list of resources you might be able to use, including how to get emergency refills of your meds.

Stay strong. Stay safe. And thank you for your service to our country.


Erotic Romance Scavenger Hunt

Friday, May 25th, 2012

The Erotic Romance Scavenger Hunt is a blog hop featuring nineteen authors, a ton of exclusive material and fantastic giveaways, and an amazing grand prize for one lucky scavenger hunter.

Just joined the hunt? Click here to start from the beginning.

RULES: Hidden within each post on the hunt will be a single letter that is red. Jot those letters down because they’re part of the following mystery phrase you’ll need to unscramble:

_ _ _ _ I _ _     _ _ _ _ _ _ _     _ _ R     _ _ _ _

At the bottom of each post will be a link to your next stop on the hunt. Once you’ve completed the hunt, read all the fantastic exclusive material and entered all the individual giveaways, unscramble the letters you collected to reveal the mystery phrase. When you’ve uncovered the phrase, fill out the entry form in order to qualify for the grand prize. Grand prize is open internationally. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The hunt will only be open for 72 hours so play fast! Entries sent without the correct phrase or without contact information will not be considered. All entries must be received by May 28 at noon Central Time.

On with the hunt!


Hey, all! My name is Rowan McBride, and welcome to my blog. Today I have the pleasure of hosting Angel Martinez, who has a gift for writing fairy tales and sci-fi. She also rocks at seamlessly fusing the two genres to create something new, which blows my mind. So far my favorites from her book list are “Boots” and “Vassily the Beautiful.” Here’s a bit more about her:

Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres. Her experiences as a soldier, a nurse, a banker, and an underpaid corporate drone give her a broad view of the world and a deep appreciation for the astounding variety of people on this small planet.

She currently lives part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head. She has one husband of over twenty years, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

To learn more about Angel, please visit www.freewebs.com/angelwrites/.

NOW FOR ANGEL’S EXCLUSIVE MATERIAL!

Sub Zero
A new M/M Science Fiction Novella by Angel Martinez
Coming September 2012 from Amber Allure

Major Aren Dalsgaard’s newest assignment is to investigate a series of murders on the frigid planet, Drass, where relations between the Treaty settlers and the natives have taken a nasty turn. A linguist and trained xenologist, Major Dalsgaard should be comfortable with the case. So why is this assignment the hardest he’s ever faced?

Drass is where he died, over a hundred and twenty years ago.

Excerpt (from Chapter Two: The Goblin Problem):

As they passed through the security doors, Aren pulled Sergeant Wickstrom back a step to murmur. “Earpiece in, Emma, on my personal translation channel. It’s possible I might not want our local friends to understand every word I say, but I don’t want you to miss a syllable.”

“Yes, sir.”

The lights grew brighter as they rounded the corner into a corridor lined with the cell viewing windows. Captain Underwood stopped at the third on the left, with a nod to its occupant. “There he is, Major.”

Oh, yes, he looks like a dangerous character to me. The dangpo male lay on his side, hands cuffed behind him, cheek pressed to the plasticrete floor. Slender, with delicate features, he appeared hardly more than a boy. His chest rose and fell in uneven pants. His long, white hair lay plastered against his skin in damp strands.

“Captain, what’s the temp in this cell?” Aren fought to keep his voice soft and even.

“A little warmer than it is out here, sir.”

“I assume you know that’s not healthy for him.”

The captain gave him another of those odd, bland looks. “Helps soften them up for questioning, Major. We don’t believe in coddling criminals here.”

Lower it, please. I’d prefer to have a conscious suspect to question.” He stripped off his coat and gloves, which the sergeant retrieved with quick efficiency. “Ice. Water. This boy looks a bit past ‘softened’ to me.”

To their credit, his escort didn’t grumble over his orders. The lieutenant returned quickly with the requested items and a report that the cell temperature was dropping.

“Have the door opened for me, Captain,” he ordered and then held up a hand when the whole delegation would have followed him. “I need to do this alone, please. He won’t say much of anything with a whole squad looming over him.”

“But he’s dangerous, Major!” Mr. Cisneros protested. “He’s killed four people!”

“Allegedly killed four people, sir. He’s cuffed. He’s half my size. I think I can manage.”

“Sir?” Sergeant Wickstrom broke in. “If you—”

“I’ll signal if I need you, Sergeant. I assume these are standard viewing panes? One way?”

“Yes, Major.”

“Then you all can keep an eye on proceedings and rescue me if our desperado gets out of hand.”

The young man barely twitched when Aren stepped into the cell. Not good. He pressed the ice pack to the prisoner’s forehead and waited for his eyes to open.

“Good afternoon. My name is Major Aren Dalsgaard, and I’m here to ask you a few questions.”

“Registered,” came the faint reply. “Jack Waters. Registry band. Please…” Frightened black eyes stared up at him. “Registered.”

“Yes, I know.” Aren slid an arm under the young man’s shoulders and helped him sit up. “Here, drink. It’s just water. Nice and cold.”

“Jack” drank in desperate gulps, and then sat back, staring at him from behind his curtain of disheveled hair.

“Do you know why you’re here?”

The young man shook his head, though whether that meant he didn’t know or that he didn’t understand the question was unclear.

Aren sat cross-legged on the floor facing him and switched to dangpo. “You’re name is not ‘Jack Waters,’ is it?”

The dark eyes narrowed and he persisted in answering in standard. “Registered. Have band.”

Talk to me, please. God, I’ve missed hearing the language. “Child, you are too young to be chilok khyimtshang.”

“I am not a child!” the young man shot back in his native language. “I have seen twenty and four summers!” He scooted back, derision coloring his soft voice. “Did you learn to speak dangpo from old tapes? You sound like my great-grandmother.”

“It’s possible that I knew your great-grandmother.”

A toss of his head cleared half the hair from his face. “You are not so old.”

“I am somewhat older than I look.” Aren placed his hands on his knees, palms up, hoping it still meant he wished peaceful negotiation. He jerked his head to the cell door. “The chigyel, they think you killed that woman last night.”

The young man’s mouth dropped open on a strangled squeak. “What? No! I was trying to help!”

Aren tilted his head one way and then the other, a gesture of understanding. “Tell me what happened. From the beginning. Perhaps you could start with your name.”

“Why should I trust you?” the young man cried out. “You, a chigyel who smells of offworld things, who tries to imitate our speech, our manners! You try to make me think you are a friend, but you are no different from the rest!”

“You’re too young to remember, of course. But I had a family, once. I made my home with the Changki pod, adopted as one of their own.” He raised his right hand, index finger curled under his thumb to indicate a sworn truth. “I am Serpodom.”

The prisoner let out a hysterical laugh. “Now you think me stupid. Serpodom died a hundred twenty and three summers past.”

“Yes. I did. In pain and anguish, I died.” Aren unbuttoned his uniform jacket and slid out of it as he spoke. “I am Serpodom, the voice of the dangpo. My beloved’s name was Akarnyima, the hunter.”

The youngster’s eyes darted back and forth, uncertain and off-balance. Aren undid his shirt cuffs and continued. “Akar taught me to live here, to speak, to love. He gave me my first hunting knife and a khyi pup named Dawanying. Do you know the story? Do I have it right so far?”

Black eyes wide, the young man nodded.

Aren started on his shirt buttons. “A day came when Akar and I were fishing. The sun was bright. The fish seemed to leap into the nets. We laughed and chattered, distracted by our happiness. We heard the ribul slithering through the snow too late. I killed it, but it had bitten my Akar. He wasn’t one of those who survive a ribul bite. My beloved died screaming.”

“But before he died, he went mad,” the young man said in a breathless rush, obviously caught up in the story. “Raving and half-blind, he struck out with his venom spurs and stabbed his Serpodom in the shoulder.”

His hands shaking in the chill room, Aren slid off his shirt. The young man gasped when he revealed the blue circle of the zi chiwa venom site on his shoulder. “And his Serpodom lay down beside him to die. Do they tell what my last words were before I died?”

The white-haired head nodded rapidly.

“I said to the Changki, my family, ‘Don’t weep. My place is with him.’ Is that what they say?”

“Yes.” The young man’s complexion had faded to an unhealthy shade of gray. He curled over his knees with a little moan. “How can this be? How…I don’t feel well.”

“Should I help you to the bowl?” Aren asked in a gentler tone as he pulled on his shirt.

“No…I…no. Just…how are you here? Only the Changki know those final words.”

Longing stabbed through Aren, sharper than any surgical blade. “You’re Changki? What’s your name, little one?”

Rocking, with his head against his knees, the young man murmured, “Nyachung.”

Little fish. It suits him. “The chigyel have a way of freezing the body, of preserving it so it remains undamaged and unchanged. When they found a way of reversing what the venom did to me, they thawed my frozen body and woke me.”

“They ripped you from death? From your rest? From your Akar’s side?”

“Yes.” Aren finished his buttons and stared at his hands. “Though I don’t remember anything about death. So maybe I wandered lost and never was beside him.”

Nyachung lifted his head, swallowing hard. “It is an evil thing they did. I sorrow for you, for your loss.”

“Thank you. Though I am pleased to meet Changki again.” Aren resumed his open palmed position. “Nyachung, I want to help you. To try to protect you. But you must tell me only truth. Why did you come to the city?”

“On family business. The khepa bumé sent me.”

All right. Evasion, I think, but not a lie. “Tell me what happened last night.”

“I have a room near the stone river. Walking back to it, I saw someone dragging a heavy bundle. He put the bundle down and began pulling things off. As I moved closer, I saw the bundle was a woman. He was pulling her clothes off. I thought…thought he was taking her by force. I didn’t know she was dead.”

“You had no reason to. Can you describe the man?”

“No. It was dark and he had a scarf wrapped around his head.”

Of course. That would’ve been too easy. “What happened then?”

“I yelled. I wanted to frighten him off. He pulled a long knife from his coat. I was…I was afraid.”

“A sensible person would be.”

“Yes. And I know it was wrong. We are forbidden to extend the venom spurs in the city. But he lunged at me. I…I had no other weapon.”

“Did you strike him?”

Nyachung ducked his head. “No. I tripped and struck a metal post. The man ran off.” His white ears turned a pale blue, showing his acute embarrassment. “And then the city guards came and shouted at me and threw me to the ground.”

Aren fought against a smile. The situation wasn’t at all funny, but Nyachung’s mortification was endearing. “You’re not a hunter.”

“No. I am the pod’s third tale-singer.”

“And I think you were sent here, to ask questions, to negotiate, to trade, whatever the reason, because you are a good speaker, persuasive and gentle. You speak the chigyel language better than you pretend, don’t you?”

That got him another shame-faced nod. Oh, to be so young again. “They speak so fast here, and when I didn’t understand, they spoke fast and loud, which only made things worse. I pretended to be stupid.”

“It must have been frightening. Be patient. Be brave. I will go speak with the chigyel.” Aren clambered back to his feet, gratified that he managed without calling for help.

“I will try.”

He made a gesture toward the viewing pane, confident his observers monitored every move, and the cell door clicked open on cue. “Do what they ask. Answer their questions honestly. If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.”

While he wished he had more to offer, fervently wished he could order the cuffs taken off, it was the best he could do for the moment. Steady. Stay focused. Empirical evidence. You’re feeling protective because of his family associations, and you’re not here to be a white knight.


WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

One Good Year

If you’d like a fab 8×10 glossy pic of Spade from the One Good series (and you do– I mean, look at all the sexy!) just make a comment below. A winner will be drawn at random and announced on this blog the evening of May 28th.

Ready to move on? The next stop on the Erotic Romance Scavenger Hunt is…


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Avril Ashton

Good luck!


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