Hey everyone! Today I have Tali Spencer visiting, and she’s doing a guest blog on her latest release, Sorcerer’s Knot, from Dreamspinner. Make sure to check out her blog; she's doing a giveaway too!
When Life Serves Up a Monster—Guest Blog by Tali Spencer
Have you ever wanted something really, really badly? So much you can’t think of anything else?
You know, the kind of thing that’s the one and only thing you want in the world, because if you had that, you know you would be complete?
I think all of us have been there. That kind of wanting is especially powerful in young people who’ve suffered broken homes or other life events that have left them feeling that something’s missing from their lives. But it could be any of us. If we could just find that one thing, win the love of that one person or open that one door, all our problems would go away. Think about how many of us obsess about a love interest, the one person who will make us whole. Or we might fixate on getting our dream job, going to a certain school, gaining entry into an elite group… or even getting published… something just at the tips of our fingers.
So we put all of our energy toward that goal. We put aside everything that does not advance our mission. We barely even notice we’re missing out on other things because we’re so focused on reaching our dream. And when we reach that goal, when we finally get what we want, the one thing that will make our life perfect… we find out it’s not the answer.
In fact, it’s a tentacle monster.
Maybe the monster is a marriage that didn’t turn out like a fairy tale. Or a job that’s soul-killing, without a future. Or learning that having children isn’t a picnic of cooing giggles and cuteness. As often as not, achieving the dream comes with a damn lot of crazy baggage we never signed up for. And instead of enjoying our triumph, we sometimes find ourselves fighting for our lives and wondering what the hell we got ourselves into.
The good news is we all get to go through this. I don’t know too many people who haven’t done battle with at least one tentacle monster of their own desiring. I’ve encountered three such monsters so far—defeated them all, thank you for asking—and wouldn’t be surprised to run into another. Why? Because I’m a dreamer and believe with all my heart in things like true love, human kindness, and happiness ever after. I never see the monsters coming.
But I just wrote this post to illustrate how I came up with one of the themes of Sorcerer’s Knot, which is about Cian, a young, ambitious wizard who sets out to acquire a power that’s been forbidden to men for a very good reason. It’s also the tale of Muir the Scarred, the man Cian must either seduce or defeat if he is to get hold of that power. And yes, there is a tentacle monster.
In a world where pleasure unlocks even the best-guarded magic, Cian has a long list of magical talents—and an even longer list of sorcerers he slept with to acquire them. He even seduced a dragon. There’s just one arcane power left for him to master: command over the sea. Now Cian has learned where to find Muir the Scarred, the only man known to have mastered that power—and he is determined to wrest it from him by whatever means necessary.
But completing the task isn’t so easy. First, Cian’s boat is wrecked on the shores of Muir’s desolate island. Then he learns an enchantment will keep him there forever. And when he tries to seduce Muir, he finds himself being seduced by the mysterious sorcerer instead. But the source of the power Cian seeks is also trapped on the island, and it will stop at nothing to break free, even if that means forcing pleasure—and magic—from Cian's unwilling body.
Cian began to remove his garments, one by one. He knew what he looked like without them, what peeling away layers of borrowed raiment would reveal. What he wore was scavenged, mismatched, salvaged from the sea or left behind by previous houseguests. None of the items suited his coloring. He yanked off his boots first, glad to rid himself of stiff, stained leather and missing nails. The wool jacket he shrugged off his arms was rough and patched, though the soft shirt beneath looked shabby only because it lay against skin as creamy as the ocean’s finest pearls. Lastly he unknotted the rope he’d used as a belt and pushed down his trousers, leaving only the draped and tucked linen of a loin wrap.
“I have something you want more than food,” he said.
Though the sorcerer did not speak a word of protest, Cian knew he’d guessed right. Half-formed desire gazed back at him from those pitch-dark eyes. Half-formed. What else lingered there issued a warning.
“I was wrong,” said Muir. “You may well eat tonight after all.”
“I’m not a whore, but I’m not a beast, either. I can’t live on grass. If my hard work won’t earn me food, maybe soft work will. I don’t want to leave here to toil in the village or on one of the farms, never repaying my great debt. I want to stay with you.”
“With me?” Muir smiled ever so slightly. He resumed stirring his soup, but he was listening. “You have no idea what you are asking, or offering. What will you do if I send you away?”
“Come back. Like a dog.”
Something predatory leaped over Muir, anger throwing off everything about him that was false. He ceased stirring his soup and strode to where Cian waited, stripped to a loincloth. He grasped Cian by the hair at the back of his neck and pulled him off-balance against him, mouth descending to capture his lips with a ferocity that made Cian gasp. And then that gasp too was taken, Muir’s tongue pushing it back into Cian’s throat as his free hand explored the smooth, offered flesh.
Instead of triumph, Cian felt fear, but it was a wild fear, exhilarating, the kind of fear that led men to hunt beasts capable of rending them with horns and claws. His cock hardened, tenting the loin wrap and pushing into the other man’s thigh. Muir’s power was within his grasp. He had sunk the hook and now had only to pull the man in, exhaust his senses and weaken his mind. Little by little, he yielded, giving himself over to that roaming hand, allowing Muir full access to his mouth. The man tasted like cherries, honey, and salt.
Cian wound his arms around Muir’s chest, pulling him tight and reveling in his scent. He smelled the sea, heard waves crashing. His moan vibrated the tongue now probing his surrender. With his hands, Cian explored Muir’s broad shoulders, grabbing handfuls of coarse wool, trying to undress him. Was Muir’s body scarred also? He dreaded what he might find, but he craved it too much to care. The path to power lay through Muir’s body.
He ground his groin against Muir, inhaling sharply when he felt the thrust of the man’s erection. Hard, long, and thick, rubbing against him with a summons he yearned to obey. For far too long, he’d denied his own urges. His mouth broke from Muir’s when the sorcerer grabbed him by the shoulders and pushed him down, onto his knees. Mouth wet and puffy from being kissed, Cian looked up to see Muir rip at the lacings of his robe so the long-sleeved garment fell down over his arms and thighs to the floor.
Muir the Scarred was well named.
Trails of annular blemishes ribboned the pale skin of Muir’s previously hidden torso and limbs. Knotted ridges and rings of healed tissue, some half the width of Cian’s hand, strung along a serpentine path that curved from the sorcerer’s right shoulder, puckered over thick muscle and lay flat upon his breastbone, then continued down the ladder of his left side; more trails of ringed scars appeared under his arm to curl down his ribs and wrap around his hips. His cock, too, as long and thick as promised, was embellished with smaller variations. Ring-shaped cicatrices of pale rose encircled the dusky shaft, a swirling pattern at once shocking and strangely beautiful, like jewels embedded under the skin.
Muir reached down and ran his fingers through Cian’s hair. “I haven’t had a man as pretty as you in some time.”