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by L. E. Bryce

Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Two years ago, Elantho's lover drowned in a terrible accident. Now, still grieving, he is sent south to the island of Tash to recruit Eshandri, son of the local matriarch, to join the Blue House of Lachant. What Elantho finds, however, is a powerful being who does not need instruction, and who offers Elantho the promise of a freedom he has never known--and a love he never thought to experience.
eBook Publisher: Phaze, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: May 2009


16 Reader Ratings:
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Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [147 KB]
Words: 28500
Reading time: 81-114 min.

It began with a look, a careless smile over a pile of unmended nets.

At first, shocked by his lowborn suitor's lack of manners, and the hand that reached for his, Elantho had furiously glanced away. But Omis did not care about his princely rank, and even seemed to find his haughty refusals amusing. So it might have remained--Omis forever making hopeless overtures, and Elantho refusing them--had the inscrutable gods not kindled some spark between them.

Perhaps the solstice festival had worked its magic on them. Sacred to the Lady of the Waters, the longest day of the year was a time for feasting, dancing, and unbridled gaiety. That day and the long, warm twilight which followed wrought a change. Suddenly Omis's earthy ways seemed appealing, his shy advances irresistible. Elantho knew it could not have been the beer or watered wine he had drunk that day, for as a talevé who could not stomach alcohol he had been careful.

When Omis leaned in to kiss him he did not pull away, and did not want to. In that moment, Elantho wanted to be held by strong arms, wanted to feel that special glow other lovers shared.

Torches lit the gentle dusk, yet no one saw them under the spreading oak, nor would have commented if they had. The Lady's male consorts often found themselves attracted to each other--why should they not be, when the goddess made them all so beautiful?

Omis took him in his arms, yet as their lips met, Elantho suspected his lover had no more sexual experience than he. It made no difference. Clumsiness meant nothing on this night. Royal rank disappeared in the dark. Elantho did not care that Omis had coarse ways and coarser speech. All that mattered was how he felt, and who made him feel that way, because it was the first time.

On this night of love, no one gave much thought to the future. No one contemplated death.

Had he suspected the dream would end so abruptly, Elantho might have withheld his heart and never experienced love, and so avoided the pain when, only two days later, Omis's life ended in a tangle of fishing nets, a horrific accident that should never have been.

After donning mourning gray, Elantho boarded the funeral ship that would take Omis to his watery grave. When the pallbearers reverently slid the weighted shroud over the side, he saw it sink into the depths, a flash of white quickly swallowed by the fathomless green-gray sea, and it seemed that all his hope vanished with it.

On the day the new Blue House was dedicated, Elantho received as a keepsake the silver pin Omis should have worn as a totem upon his lapel. Elantho stared at the hrill in his palm, the sea creature's curves blurring with his tears, and in a fit of anguish and revulsion flung the jewel as far out into the sea as his strength allowed. Those who saw thought him foolish, dwelling too long on someone he had barely known and scarcely loved.

Elantho did not care what they thought. In fact, he welcomed their derision, for it meant they would keep their distance. They would not love him, and he in turn would never have to love again.

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