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Apr. 11th, 2011


 Hello peeps. I received another cover from the very talented Reese Dante. This one is for a release I anticipate a lot, Artie, the Good Witch, coming soon from Silver Publishing.



Tentative blurb


My name is Artie and I have a problem. My dear grandfather Brew died, succumbing to his love for pastries and leaving me all of his possessions. I now officially own a crumbling tower and two black cats. Unfortunately, this means I also have to take on his responsibilities as a wizard, an impossible thing for me, since I am not one. I am a witch, a good witch, and terribly poor at it. My cats are no help, and they only mock me. My parents are off gallivanting Goddess knows where. I suck at casting spells, yet I am supposed to participate in the very important ritual of the Beckoning in Brew's stead.
To top it off, instead of trying to figure things out, I keep drooling over weird men and finding love in all the wrong places. Wizards and necromancers? What's next, a dragon? In my defense, choosing a boyfriend is really difficult when you're trying to resurrect the land and save its ungrateful people. It doesn't help that I have to avoid being seriously hurt by evil geniuses and cackling witches. Help me out here. I pay in hugs and black kittens. For an inquiry, call 0-900-ARTIE-THE-GOOD-WITCH.

On bad reviews and second languages


Hello to everyone and Happy April's Fools Day! I'm sure many of you out there are aware of the hype surrounding a bad review of a certain author. The author in question proceeded to insult the reviewer and the readers who offered their opinions. But I don't want to talk about that. It's already been discussed more than necessary. Perhaps it is self-centered of me, but what I mean to say is the following: When you want to criticize someone's writing, don't say "S/he writes like English is not her/his second language." It is very insulting to those of us who are non-native speakers/writers. IMHO, I don't make glaring mistakes, and false modesty aside, I'm good at English - and this is true for many other non-English authors out there. So without meaning to offend anyone, please consider this when you leave bad reviews.

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Awakenings available for pre-order


 Hi all! Just realized Awakenings is now available for pre-order and like I did with Bunny, I am posting an excerpt here.



Mermen twins Jaden and Chrys have been scorned all their lives by Atlantean society. The only one who cares about them is Prince Aurus. But when Aurus and Chrys fall in love, they leave Jaden an outsider. Secretly, Jaden wants his twin, but he keeps his sinful affection well hidden. After they are separated from Aurus, he is the only one who can comfort Chrys, even if only in a brotherly manner.

When the Atlantean king concocts a plan to hurt them, Jaden and Chrys run away, and their paths cross with Aurus's again. This time, though, a strange force interferes in their lives. A dark, powerful beast that lives in the depths of the ocean calls out to Jaden, luring him toward its lair. With Jaden in danger of disappearing forever, Chrys and Aurus are faced with a choice, a realization, and a decision. Will mysterious Vaar finally help the three mermen see the truth, or will he end their very existences?

Preorder here.

Excerpt


That night, Jaden lay down on the bed, staring at the ceiling in silence. His twin lay cuddled by his side, so close Jaden could feel Chrys's hot breath on his skin. Their quarters were small and cramped, unsurprisingly the worst of the entire hideout. They'd only received their own room because everyone else felt reluctant to share any sort of living space with them or be in their close proximity. In consequence, they only had one bed and that led to very tortuous nights for Jaden.
While Chrys slept on obliviously, Jaden couldn't help but feel tormented by his twin's heat. Chrys was, as always, so close, and yet, so far away. In moments such as these, though, restraint translated as agony. Touching Chrys would be so easy. His twin might not even know it, or if he did realize, Jaden could blame it on a random motion while twisting in bed. The temptation was so strong Jaden couldn't put it out of his mind. He slept poorly, and when he did, he always dreamed the same things: Chrys, over and over, glaring at him angrily, turning his back on him with disgust.
No, he couldn't take advantage of Chrys's vulnerability. He'd have to satisfy himself with merely watching his twin. In his sleep, Chrys looked so beautiful and peaceful, and for once not troubled by their disastrous circumstances. Jaden couldn't steal that away.
In a sense, he envied his twin's restful slumber. Lately, an unsettling gloom encroached upon his nights, and Jaden didn't know what to think of it. The nearness of the Forbidden Zone made him nervous, yes, but he hated the idea he'd turned into a coward. He loathed jumping at shadows and having nightmares about things that would most likely never come to pass.
Chrys's new plan, though, made Jaden wonder if he'd be able to get any sleep for the next few weeks. He could already see them trapped in the dungeons, slain at the hands of the king's guards, or worse. But he had to do this for Chrys and for Aurus too.
Sighing, Jaden tried to force himself to rest. Just when he thought he'd succeed, a small moan tore through his consciousness. He tensed and his eyes shot to his twin. Like before, Chrys clung to Jaden, but the peaceful expression had vanished, replaced with something that looked like pain. Concerned, Jaden pressed his hand to Chrys's shoulder, intent on shaking his twin out of the nightmare.
But then the worst possible thing happened. A gasp escaped Chrys's lips, and he actually leaned into Jaden's touch. His tail rubbed against Jaden's and when their scales made contact, Jaden bit his lip to suppress a groan. Pleasure shot through him, and he answered the intoxicating motion, thrusting back against his twin.
Chrys's moans turned louder, incomprehensible mutters, out of which Jaden could only catch a few random words. The occasional "yes" spurred Jaden on, his mind melting at the sensations that shot through him. There was no awkwardness, no fumbling. They simply fit together. How could they not? They'd been born that way.
He thought he even heard his brother call out his name, and realized in glee he'd been worried for naught. Chrys wanted him, just like he wanted Chrys. They'd be all right.
And then, among all the yeses and mores, Jaden understood one other word. Aurus. His brain instantly cleared, the haze of pleasure disappeared, his irrational hopes dashed. Of course. Of course his twin wouldn't have a dream about him. It had all been an illusion.
For the first time in his life, Jaden couldn't look at Chrys. If he stayed in this room, he'd die of heartache.
Carefully slipping out of the small bed, Jaden headed toward the door. After a final glance in his twin's direction, he went out. By now, he knew Chrys could take care of himself and the bandits would not bother him. At this point, they'd been separated many times because of their individual expeditions into the Atlantean capital. But where to go? Where could he possibly find refuge when nothing went as he wanted it to? His heart hurt, and he couldn't figure out any solution out of this inescapable situation.
The call from the distance returned and Jaden threw an angry glare toward the Forbidden Zone. Someone or something wanted him to go there. Very well. He'd go, and if the beast ate him, so be it.
Not allowing himself to change his mind, Jaden swam toward the dangerous abyss. He idly noted that the closer he got, the more barren the entire area seemed. In the end, there were no fish or vegetation left, only rock and sand. The darkness, though, seemed to have a life of its own, and Jaden shuddered, already regretting his decision.
He looked back, hesitating. Now that he'd left the bandits' lair, he could think with a clear head and realized he'd been very foolish. If something happened to him, Chrys would be very sad. Worse, the bandits might accept them now, but they could very easily change their minds. Chrys could be hurt if Jaden left him on his own, and Jaden wanted to avoid that at all cost.
And yet, even full of doubt, Jaden found himself swimming further, closing in to the proverbial area of no-return. He stopped when the rock broke off, and a deep chasm cut in the very bowels of the ocean floor.
His mad courage deserted him and Jaden didn't dare to go exploring further. He probably wouldn't be able to, anyway. The pressure would get more powerful as he descended, and even for mermen, that could be deadly.
Instead of taking such a foolish risk, he sat down at the edge of the ravine. "So what now?" he shouted. His voice echoed against the rock below, disappearing into the void. "What do you want?"
He didn't receive a reply, yet for some reason, he felt a satisfied, unseen presence. Frustrated beyond belief, Jaden lay down and absently stared upward. It was so dark down here that even he, with his mermen eyesight, couldn't see very well. For some reason, it comforted him. It made him forget how dirty he was inside, so dirty that all the waters of the ocean couldn't cleanse him.
"You know," he absently started to speak. "I'm in love with my twin. Yes, my twin brother. Crazy, isn't it? You can come out and eat me now, I deserve it."
Again, silence was his only answer. Jaden would have been frustrated, but he sensed the creature still lingered there, in the waters beneath. He decided he didn't particularly like the thought of facing a monster anyhow, but if it wanted to hear him rant and rave, Jaden could give him that.
"It's been like that for as long as I can remember. I mean, at first, it was normal sibling love." He paused, wondering how much a creature would understand before realizing the entire thing was absurd and stupid. The beast might be listening to Jaden's voice in preparation of attacking him. Strangely calm at the thought, Jaden didn't try to flee. Instead, he continued, "Well, I'm not sure you know, but with us, feelings toward brothers should be pure, chaste. I can't think of Chrys as just my twin, though. I want more. It hurts so bad he can't give me that, and I have to hide it from him."
Warmth invaded him, as if the presence tried to comfort him. The arousal he'd experienced rubbing against his twin returned with a vengeance. Jaden found himself lightly touching his own scales, imagining Chrys's hand on them.
The dark force seemed to egg him on, pouring sensual energy inside him. With his right hand, Jaden tweaked his nipple. In his mind, Chrys did everything. With the forbidden power there, invading him, it didn't even seem so far-fetched.
Pleasure swept through him as he explored his own body. He saw Chrys on the bed, gasping, rubbing against him. He dreamed his sibling's beautiful lips mouthed his name, "Jaden". Chrys had woken up and touched Jaden while fully aware. And someone else lingered there, too. Aurus, perhaps…and the presence. The presence! Oh, Sweet Sea Mother!
Jaden yelped, suddenly aware of what he'd said and done. What was he doing? Anyone could be down there, and if they found out about his secret, they could use it against him and Chrys. How could he act so shamelessly?
"I have to go," he said hastily, his body still buzzing with unfulfilled pleasure.
Nothing or no one tried to stop him and he swam out of the Forbidden Zone. By the time he made his way back to the bandit hideout, he felt a bit calmer. Thankfully, Chrys still slept and Jasper didn't comment upon Jaden's departure. Jaden lay down next to Chrys and closed his eyes. This time, when sleep took him, he dreamt of darkness engulfing him whole.

 Hello, everyone. Due to my enduring technological problems, I'm lurking on the web more often than not, but I had to share my news. My newest story, Fire of the Four Seasons, has been accepted for publishing with Siren Bookstrand.
For those familiar with my previous books, it is somewhat similar to The Three Horsemen of the Black Forest, in the sense that it is also inspired from Russian lore. I don't have the blurb written yet, but it is fantasy menage mmmmm, a twisted fairytale like I love so much :). I hope you all will enjoy it as well.

Ebook week at Silver Publishing


    

Hi everyone. The upcoming week is eBook Week and Silver Publishing is hosting a special promotion. From March 6 until March 12, all Silver titles excluding Coming Soon and New Releases will receive 30% discount if the reader purchases one New or Coming Soon release.
That is, if you buy a new title or one on the coming soon list, you receive 30% discount on all other books.
To add to that, Silver is also offering an e-reader to a lucky customer during the week in question. Naturally, I'm hoping you'll drop buy and purchase my coming soon, The Plot Bunny :D.

Click me for details.

New cover: Awakenings


 I'm so excited! I just received the final version of the cover for Awakenings, due out April 16th with Silver Publishing.




Blurb:

Mermen twins Jaden and Chrys have been scorned all their lives by Atlantean society. The only one who cares about them is Prince Aurus. But when Aurus and Chrys fall in love, they leave Jaden an outsider. Secretly, Jaden wants his twin, but he keeps his sinful affection well hidden. After they are separated from Aurus, he is the only one who can comfort Chrys, even if only in a brotherly manner.
When the Atlantean king concocts a plant to hurt them, Jaden and Chrys run away, and their paths cross with Aurus's again. This time, though, a strange force interferes in their lives. A dark powerful beast that lives in the depths of the ocean calls out to Jaden, luring him to its lair. With Jaden in danger of disappearing forever, Chrys and Aurus are faced with a choice, a realization and a decision. Will mysterious Vaar finally help the three mermen see the truth or will he end their very existences?


The cover is just beautiful and illustrates what I wanted for the story perfectly. Thank you, Reese!

Free ficlet: Dark Fascination


 In celebration of my release today, I wrote a ficlet starring the main character, Pierre D'Argent, and Keenan von Klein from Destinies in Darkness. It offers some insight into Pierre's character, and it's only a spoiler if you haven't read the rest of the series.

Title: Dark Fascination

Pairing: Pierre/Keenan – stories: Destinies in Darkness, Mending Shattered Souls

Timeline: prior to main arc, after the prologue in MSS

Summary: Pierre struggles with his inner demons, but he cannot defeat his dark fascination for Keenan von Klein. He doesn’t even want to.

Pierre watched with anxiousness as his brother spoke on the phone. He could sense Jean Luc’s anger and frustration, and it didn’t bode well. “What do you mean a hundred are dead?” Jean Luc asked. “Damn it!”

Few things in this world could make Jean Luc react with such vehemence. If Jean Luc’s words hadn’t warned Pierre of the seriousness of the situation, Jean Luc’s emotions did a pretty good job of emphasizing it.

Jean Luc exchanged a few more words with the person on the other side of the receiver then cursed once more. There was a slight peak of power in the room and the communication device blew up, sending bits of plastic and metal all over the place.

Pierre winced as the telephone rotary landed in front of him, mentally counting the item as the fourth telephone Jean Luc destroyed. He hoped the Sidhe engineers could come up with something more enduring than the humans could.

That aside, he was concerned about the conversation. Restlessness had increased in Parisin the past few weeks. The paranormals did their best to keep their head down, but Jean Luc tried to take precautions regardless. Apparently, it hadn’t worked out.

“How bad is it?” Pierre asked his brother.

Jean Luc sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Very bad. I knew it wouldn’t end well. War never does.” After a short pause, he continued. “There were several paranormals, both Sidhe and of other races, who ignored the warnings and went out in the streets. The hunters took advantage of their foolishness and attacked them. Michel estimates up to one hundred are dead.”

“Mon Dieu,” Pierre murmured. The realization of death never sat well with him, especially when his own kind was concerned.

All of a sudden, a dark voice emerged in his mind, startling him. “So what if they are dead? They were idiots, and deserved to die.”

Pierre hastily silenced it, pushing it back in the recesses of his brain. This wasn’t the time for his little problem to manifest. He had to do his best to help his people. “What can I do?” he asked Jean Luc.

“There’s little we can do,” Jean Luc replied. “The other races are sending representatives. We’re meeting Keenan von Klein in a little over an hour.”

Pierre’s heart started beating faster at Jean Luc’s words, and this time, not because of anxiety. He’d met Keenan shortly after Jean Luc had returned from his voyage. The vampire was so handsome, elegant, well-mannered and wicked at the same time. Merely being in Keenan’s presence, no, hearing his name, made Pierre’s blood pulse.

“Remember, Pierre,” Jean Luc said, “stay out of the streets. I don’t have time to babysit.”

Pierre felt a surge of irritation at his brother’s words. It annoyed him that Jean Luc, and everyone else for that matter, considered him useless and helpless. He just knew that the voice would have emerged again if not for Keenan’s impending arrival. “I know,” he replied. “I’ll be careful.”

Keenan was the only one who didn’t compare Pierreto Jean Luc and find Pierre lacking. For that reason, Pierre would ever be grateful to the vampire.

“What about the injured?” Pierreasked. “Have they been transported to the hospital?”

Jean Luc looked at his watch. “Michel encountered some trouble in making sure the issue stays away from the eyes of the general public, but I’ll take care of it.”

Jean Luc rushed out of the room without another word. Pierre was left, as always, alone, stuck in the Sidhe compound with nothing to do.

Unwilling to drown in yet another bout of self-pity, Pierre proceeded to occupy himself by studying the reports still on his father’s desk. He found nothing of real concern there, and Pierre often did paperwork in the king’s stead. It was the only thing he seemed to be able to do.

Still, time passed him by while he went through the mind-numbing files and swept through the varied accounts of purchases or investments. Before he knew it, he heard voices in the hallway and felt the distinct presence of Keenan von Klein.

Immediately, Pierre shot to his feet, eager to greet the vampire. As he stepped out of the king’s office, he saw Jean Luc approach, with Keenan close behind him. “Greetings, Monsieur von Klein,” he said. “Welcome back, brother. How are things out there?”

“Hello, Pierre,” Keenan replied with a smile. “You look as beautiful as ever. Too bad our reunion had to be in such awful circumstances.”

“Indeed,” Jean Luc snapped irritably. “The situation is worse than originally estimated. We have to do some damage control. Pierre, have you received any news of Father?”

Pierre shook his head. King Laurent and Queen Jacquelyn had left a few months back on a second honeymoon and had yet to return. It was, in fact, at Jean Luc’s insistence, as Jean Luc feared the seriousness of the situation in Paris would escalate. Pierre was glad his parents were, at least, safe. “Last I heard they’d reached Brazil. They should be fine there.”

“We should contact them tonight,” Jean Luc mused. “Pierre, go ahead and see the doctors. They need all the help they can get.” Turning to Keenan, he said, “Come, Keenan. This way.”

Jean Luc passed Pierre, gesturing for Keenan to follow. The vampire did, but not before raking his gaze over Pierre in honest appraisal. “See you later, Pierre,” Keenan purred.

Pierre ignored his brother’s dismissal and took the invitation for what it was. So far, Keenan had manifested general interest in him, but without giving an outright offer. This time was different, though. This time, he’d get what he’d wanted for so long.

But his selfish desires would have to wait. Keenan had a job to do, and Pierre himself needed to help out at the hospital.

It took several days for the commotion to break down. Finally, between Keenan and Jean Luc, the arrangements were made and some damage control accomplished. Pierrehelped out with the injured, and this gave him renewed sense of purpose.

Five days from his arrival, Keenan announced he would be leaving the next morning. At once, Pierre knew he needed to act, lest he lose his chance.

That night, Pierre sneaked out of his room and made his way to Keenan’s. To his shock, Keenan was waiting in the hallway, arms crossed against a naked chest. He gestured Pierre in, having obviously known the Sidhe would come.

Pierre should have left. He should have clung to his dignity and retreated. He didn’t. Instead, he entered Keenan’s room, for once deciding to take what he wanted.

That night, Keenan descended upon him with the force of a hurricane. And when morning finally came, Pierre vowed to one day make Keenan his, forever.

Release date: Mending Shattered Souls


Yay! It's here! Kaldor Saga 4 is finally out. This is a story I love a lot, with a hero that has made a lot of mistakes and seeks salvation in love. I hope everyone will enjoy it as well.



KALDOR SAGA 4: MENDING SHATTERED SOULS

After his betrayal, Pierre D’Argent is tortured and broken by his own people. His only desire is to somehow find salvation in death. But a mysterious man going by the name of X rescues him, bringing a spark of hope in his life.

Love blossoms between them, despite Pierre’s incurable affliction and X’s amnesia. But shattered souls cannot be mended so easily. On the run from the Sidhe and vampire nations, at odds with their only allies, Pierre and X find themselves in a situation with no escape.

When X’s past reemerges, it brings even more complications and problems. But the worst is yet to come. The Kaldorian land of Xeetha is crumbling under the attack of hostile forces. The two lovers will have to fight for the freedom of the demon lands. Will love be enough to help them find a way?




 

 Many M/M authors, such as myself for example, like to use androgynous male figures in their fiction. It is somewhat of a trend, and very typical to Japanese yaoi anime and manga. Why? I'm not sure. Are we simply fascinated with the idea of male beauty? Do we prefer it over classical "handsomeness"? And then, there's the classical pairing of a strong top and a beautiful bottom. Do we want to recreate the same balance there is a heterosexual couple? I don't have a clue. Quite honestly, I don't know where this tendency stems from. Lately, I don't give a damn.

I admire beauty wherever I see it, be in in a flower or a man. Why am I writing about this? Because a friend of mine just showed me a couple of photos that have me in awe.







I've seen this model before, and his beauty struck me back then, just like it does now. His name is Andrej Pejic and he originates from Bosnia Herzegovina. When I first found a picture of him, I read the comments and was appalled at the amount of vitriol I read there, just because he is "beautiful" not "handsome".

Now don't misunderstand me. He is famous, rich and very appreciated by many, including famous fashion designers. What I mean to say is that beauty in all its forms is the same, and we can only admire it, like we would a beautiful rose. That's what I do when I look at these pictures - whether he is dressed as a woman or as a man. It inspires me to write, and whether I write handsome men or beautiful men, in the end, it doesn't matter. Love is love, no matter what.

Please note - I don't own these photos, so don't sue me :).

For more: http://models.com/models/andrej-pejic

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 Woot! Kaldor Saga 4: Mending Shattered Souls is now available for purchase at the Siren Bookstrand website. This is a book I dedicate to all the loyal Kaldor readers who urged me on when I was in a slump. Thank you, everyone. I hope you enjoy the story.




After his betrayal, Pierre D’Argent is tortured and broken by his own people. His only desire is to somehow find salvation in death. But a mysterious man going by the name of X rescues him, bringing a spark of hope in his life.

Love blossoms between them, despite Pierre’s incurable affliction and X’s amnesia. But shattered souls cannot be mended so easily. On the run from the Sidhe and vampire nations, at odds with their only allies, Pierre and X find themselves in a situation with no escape.

When X’s past reemerges, it brings even more complications and problems. But the worst is yet to come. The Kaldorian land of Xeetha is crumbling under the attack of hostile forces. The two lovers will have to fight for the freedom of the demon lands. Will love be enough to help them find a way?

Click me.

The book will be available on March 1st. Until then, I am gifting you with an extra excerpt. For more, just click on the link above :D.



He was lost, lost and damned to the darkness and to the pain. The shadows around him threatened to swallow him whole. But he wouldn’t go down without a fight. They’d regret their birth by the time he finished them off.

With vengeance burning in his veins, he tried to jump one of the blurry silhouettes that circled him. It was useless. Strong bindings kept his arms immobilized, and his wings weren’t much better. At first they seemed numb, but as the seconds passed, they started to hurt terribly. The prisoner gritted his teeth at the pain, knowing that it was a natural part of the healing process. After his wings were better, he had a chance at freeing himself.

For now, escaping would most likely be impossible. He was still trapped in some sort of earthling contraption, which effectively immobilized his arms, legs, and wings. He could feel tubes piercing his entire body, and his skin and bones burned as if having gone through a great fire. He was weak now, so he needed a good plan to escape.

A low chuckle sounded somewhere in front of him. As his vision became clearer, the prisoner located the source of the laughter in a middle-aged human dressed in a white robe, sitting on a simple stool. “You’re thinking about freeing yourself, you little freak? Forget about it!” The man got off the stool and walked up to his prisoner, laughing when the platinum blond tried to lunge at him. “Tsk, tsk. Be a good boy! After all, this will be your permanent home from now on, and you should consider making some friends.”

“Fuck you!” the warrior growled. “You can’t keep me here forever! I’ll get out eventually, and I’ll rip your heart out and make you eat it!”

A flash of fear passed through the human’s eyes, but then his gaze became sly and almost predatory. “I don’t think so. But maybe if you would cooperate with us…we could work together for the good of mankind. What do you say?” He smiled, passing a lascivious gaze over the warrior’s body. “I’m sure we could be great together.”

The warrior didn’t even try to suppress his surge of disgust. He just spat at his captor, giving a disdainful look. The man wiped the spit off his face, glaring at his prisoner and signaling other people dressed like him to come closer. “Idiot demon. You’ll regret that. I’ll give you a lesson you’ll never forget.”

The other men disappeared in the shadows behind the prisoner. Still bound, he could not turn his head to see what they were doing, but he could hear loud metallic sounds coming from somewhere in the back.

The man in white grinned. “Feeling a little frightened, are we?”

The prisoner scoffed. “There’s nothing you can do to me that I would ever fear.”

“We’ll see about that,” the man answered as he pulled a syringe from his pocket and injected one of the tubes.

The warrior hissed as the solution started affecting his body, his mobility restricted once more. The human grinned as he approached the prisoner and raised his head, whispering in his ear, “Last chance. Will you join our forces or not? Think about it. By my side, you’ll be free and powerful, feared and respected by all.”

The human’s tongue slipped into his prisoner’s ear, and his hands started roaming the bound man’s body. It was nauseating, and even in his drug-induced daze, the prisoner somehow managed to oppose it.

“Stop…touching…me!” he croaked out.

As if by miracle, the human’s touch disappeared. “Fine. You’ll beg for me to fuck you before the end.”

With that, the white-clad man sat back down on the stool and nodded to someone in the back. Suddenly the machine trapping the warrior started to vibrate. At first, the prisoner didn’t know what was happening, but suddenly an excruciating pain engulfed his back. He felt the machine pulling and pulling at his wings until the pain became too much to bear. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t fight. He could only suffer. As the contraption continued its work, some part of him yielded, and the prisoner felt the break in his body and his heart. He couldn’t help but scream as his black wings were ripped from his body.

“No!”

* * * *



As X’s eyes flew open, a figure loomed over him. On instinct, he attacked the unidentified figure, obviously another enemy bent on his destruction.

As he kicked and tore into the flesh of his enemy, the other man started to fight back. Between hits, X managed to hear the unknown person shout.

“Hey, stop! X, stop already! It’s me.”

The voice sounded familiar, and X shook the remnants of his dream only to identify the person he was fighting as Min. Min currently boasted several wounds, gained in his struggle with X, and X felt terrible for the attack on his friend. Min had already sustained enough physical damage for him to be the target of his attack.

“I suppose it is too much to ask you what you were dreaming about,” Min said shakily.

X didn’t say anything, just turned his back on Min Yu. “How are the others?”

“They’re fine for now,” Min replied. “They’ve kept the arguments to the minimum.”

X sighed, nodding at the former hunter. It was good news, but that didn’t mean the disease wouldn’t hit again soon.

Seeing that the storm would last a while, they’d decided to rest. One of them, either Min or X, would keep watch, in case anything happened. After his shift, X had finally managed to doze off. However, in the process, he’d ended up in that terrible place. He somehow knew that his dream must be a memory buried deep inside. Now that he had his wits, he could even face what he’d lost, the knowledge that they’d destroyed a very important part of him. His entire being screamed that there were many things he needed to remember, but whenever he tried, he found himself in front of a powerful barrier. For the time being, he had no choice but to abandon the idea of remembering, temporarily, to focus on Pierre. After all, his memories weren’t essential right now, but he did need to take care of the young Sidhe.

He had no idea why Pierre attracted him so much. By rights, they didn’t know each other, but there was a vulnerability and a sorrow inside Pierre that X thought he could understand. He wanted to make things better, to help Pierre heal and the brothers reconcile.

Out of the corner of his eye, X stole a look at the Sidhe. The D’Argent brothers had been attempting to rest at the other side of the cabin, but right now they were very much awake, a fact that was to be expected taking into account the noise he’d made upon waking up. As he looked outside to the snowy mountain, X hoped they wouldn’t have any trouble with the DSS. They had escaped the storm, but it still prevented them for making further progress. They were still too close of the Sidhe facility for comfort.

“I think we should get moving,” Jean Luc said, as if guessing his thoughts. “Michel and the others can’t be far behind.”

Min assented, his exotic features showing his displeasure as he thought about the Imperials. The memory shook X as well as he remembered the first time he’d set eyes on Jean Luc. Had it only been a few days ago? It seemed like forever. The image of Jean Luc being dragged off by the Imperials quickly morphed into Pierre and the way he’d look when X had met him.

X got up and made his way across the small cabin, suddenly feeling the need to ensure Pierre was there, safe, by his side. The memory of his beautiful eyes filled with pain, that desire to die, still plagued X. It would probably continue to plague him his entire life, just like the image of his pure-hearted lover turning into a monster.

X fought the painful images resurrected by that thought. He didn’t want to think about that now, because now, Pierre’s beautiful blue eyes were clear, like a cloudless sky, giving him a look of genuine concern. It was more than obvious that his brother had practically forced him to stay out of the fight between him and Min.

Just when he was walking over to Pierre, X felt something approach. He saw Jean Luc tense at the same moment, and Min immediately took out his weapons.

Pierre paled. “H-How far are they?”

“Not far,” Jean Luc said flatly. “We won’t have time to lose them this time.”

X nodded at the words of the silver-haired Sidhe. The way Jean Luc could analyze things so coldly always startled him, but the older Sidhe would be an asset in the fight to come. The Imperials were a force to be reckoned with. X and his friends were in for a terrible time.

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