A Strange Place in Time III: The Merry Executioner Returns
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by Alyx Shaw
Description: With the last member of the Court returned home, John Arrowsmith and his group of friends prepare to defend their land from ancient adversaries bent on their destruction. With enemies advancing on all sides and attacks coming from within their own home, it's difficult to determine where to strike. With friends succumbing to assassins and attacks, John Arrowsmith must use his abilities to their utmost to prevent tragedy befalling his adopted homeland. But tragedy comes in many forms, and his long-time lover has been gone a very long time? Will the band of friends save the day? Find out in this third instalment of the Strange Places in Time series!
eBook Publisher: Torquere Press/Top Shelf, 2009 http://www.torquerepress.com
eBookwise Release Date: July 2009
15 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [384 KB]
Reading time: 233-326 min.
Arrowsmith crossed the grass, his arm around Infamous as they made their way to the little run-down house. To his left walked Monshikka, ghostly white in the light of the full moon and stunningly beautiful. Arrowsmith said nothing as they walked along, and Infamous as well as Monshikka seemed to be sensing that all was not well. The trio all stopped at the same time, a sure sign they had known each other far too long. Infamous reached out and took Arrowsmith's hand.
"What's the matter, love?" he asked softly.
Arrowsmith looked from Infamous to Monshikka, his expression pained. For a long moment, he struggled with what he had to say. Then he smiled and reached out to touch Infamous' face.
"Infamous, I love you more than I have words to say. And I love my parents. They're good people. But ... my dad ... can be a little hard to take at times. And ... I don't want you to be upset by anything he says."
Monshikka immediately came to Infamous' defense, red eyes alive with wrath. "Arrowsmith, with all due respect to your esteemed father, I will not tolerate him abusing Infamous in any manner."
Arrowsmith had to laugh. "No one is allowed to pick on him but you, right?"
Infamous grinned at Monshikka, who put an arm around the Thief's shoulders. "That is precisely what I mean."
Arrowsmith chuckled. "Look, he's a good guy. He took me in, raised me, fed me, clothed me, spent time with me, taught me things ... He didn't have to do any of that. He could have tossed me into a foster home and forgot about me. But ... he's not exactly Mr. Sensitive New-Age Guy. He might not be real happy about me being in love with you."
Infamous opened his mouth, but did not get a chance to speak before Monshikka did.
"Well, what in the name of Creation is wrong with Infamous? What can he possibly object to? His breeding? His occupation? His hair?"
"His gender," said Arrowsmith.
Infamous and Monshikka both gave Arrowsmith the 'you must be kidding' look of a lifetime. Monshikka shook his head slightly, as though not certain of what he had heard. "I beg your pardon?"
"My dad isn't really big on the idea of men being in love with other men."
Monshikka pulled Infamous closer, his long, white robe enfolding the little Thief protectively. "That is the single most ridiculous thing I have heard in several lifetimes."
"Come on, Monshikka, your own people aren't wild about the idea, either."
"My people are mad. Reasonable folk do not think such things."
"Well, I can't argue with that. Look, all I'm saying is forgive the old guy, okay? He's had a hard life, and he's done a lot for me, okay?"
"Very well," said Monshikka, cold and regal. "But if he upsets my Thief, I shall have words with him."
"He's my Thief, thank you very much."
"I won't be anybody's Thief, if you two don't stop arguing over me!"
"Sorry, sunshine." Arrowsmith gently pulled Infamous close and kissed him. Arrowsmith put his right arm around Infamous, then offered his left arm to Monshikka, who accepted it. Together they walked toward the small fire and the four people seated around it, speaking quietly.
"I'm back!" Arrowsmith announced. "Silver, I brought the guy you're impersonating. Silver, may I present to you Prince Monshikka Starlit of Kirianna." Arrowsmith turned to look at Infamous, but he seemed to have moved so he was slightly behind Arrowsmith. Arrowsmith grinned at him. "You're cute."
Infamous eyed Arrowsmith's family like a cat watching a strange object. "They're huge."
"Sorry, I didn't have time to shrink them."
Silver stood and turned to look at Monshikka, then dropped to his knees, jaw hanging open, looking like he had just met Jesus Christ. He stared at the man before him, mouth working soundlessly, trying to speak.
"Real classy, Silver," said Arrowsmith.
Silver swallowed, then said, his voice full of awe, "Finland, he's beautiful."
"Get up, you twit."
"I mean, he is ... really beautiful!"
"You said that." Arrowsmith stepped forward and pulled his friend to his feet. Silver staggered up, unable to take his eyes from Monshikka.
"He's an Elf, right? Tell me he's an Elf."
"He's an Elf."