Nicholi’s world goes up in flames when soldiers invade his country, leaving chaos in their wake. Captured and enslaved in a foreign land, Nicholi struggles to cope with the nightmare of slavery and adapt to the terrifying and inexplicable world he is thrust into. He draws courage from a steadfast determination to get justice for his murdered family and—he hopes—peace to himself by finding and killing the man responsible for the destruction of his village. Yet, through it all, Nicholi’s greatest enemy might not be foreign powers or enemy soldiers, or even in the self-serving machinations of his fellow slaves, but himself. (M/M+)
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Nicki shivered and turned his face away from the hard-edged curve of Taric’s throat, inhaling the warm, masculine scent of him. “What’s going to happen to me?”
Taric sighed. “You’ll stay with me until we reach the city, if you choose it. I won’t let any of the men touch you.”
Nicki flinched at the words. If you choose it…. “And once we reach the city?”
“That depends on you. There are a number of fates that can befall a prisoner of war.” Taric’s voice was gentle.
Nicki believed he knew full well what lay in store for him when they reached the city. “You’re going to sell me as a whore.” The thought chilled him.
“Perhaps.” Taric’s voice was unapologetic, even as it soothed. “Your destiny is not your own, little cat.”
Nicki squirmed uncomfortably. “Why do you call me that?”
“Because I choose to.” He could hear the smile in Taric’s words. “Don’t you approve?”
No. The thought of being called anything remotely affectionate by this man chilled the blood in Nicki’s veins, but he did not dare to protest aloud. Taric had made it very clear that he was welcome in this tent only so long as he continued to be pleasing, and he was certain that any disagreement on his part would be considered grounds for instant dismissal.
Taric chuckled softly, his voice a soft vibration against Nicki’s hair. “You begin to understand.” The words were filled with quiet fondness. One hand reached for the blanket that pooled around their feet, and he pulled it up over their bodies, sealing out the chill morning air. He leaned over Nicki’s trembling form to blow out the candle that burned with such steadfast persistence beside the bed. Darkness fell over them like a shroud. “Get some sleep now, little cat. We’ll talk more of your destiny later.”
Nicki said nothing in reply as he felt Taric settle down behind him, a thick arm closing around his waist to hold him tightly against that strong frame. He lay there in the darkness, smelling the lingering traces of their passion on the chill air, and considered the fact that he might have made a horrible mistake.
Somehow he had managed to live his entire life up until this point believing in heaven but not hell, but now those tender illusions were shattering like so much glass around him. He felt the truth of it as he lay there in the arms of this man who touched him with such gentleness, and spoke to him in words that promised a life of slavery and domination even as they soothed away his tears. The horror of it yawned like a gaping chasm beneath him as he pondered the implications of his decision to avoid becoming a plaything of the army by giving in to Taric’s demands.
The others would only have taken his body; this man had taken his soul.