Hi guys, we have debut author Xenia Melzer popping in with her upcoming release Xenia Melzer, we have a fantastic guest post and a great excerpt so enjoy the post! <3 ~Pixie~
All is fair in love and war. Renaldo has lived happily by that proverb his entire life. But he has finally met his match, and he’s about to discover how unfair love and war can be.
When demigod and warlord Lord Renaldo takes a beautiful stranger captive during an ambush, he is delighted to have found a distraction that will keep him entertained during the upcoming siege. Little does he know, Casto is keeping more than just one secret from him. Slowly, Renaldo gets sucked into a turbulent roller-coaster relationship with his mysterious prisoner, one that begins with hatred and soon spirals into a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. And when it seems that things can get no worse, an old enemy stirs right in the heart of his home.
Determined to keep Casto by his side, Renaldo has to find a balance between the capricious young man and his own destiny as a ruler and god to his people.
by Xenia Melzer
When I first started writing Casto I didn’t give too much thought to the other pairings that could go on in the story. That was until Kalad, Aegid and Daran entered the scene. Before that, the concept of a threesome was an alien world to me. It was something I was happy to let other people have or think about. Fortunately, that was about to change.
I had my very first run-in with threesomes in university when we read Goethe’s Stella in a course. Despite the two optional endings – one in despair, the other in bliss – I found the story lacking. It was, no doubt, very daring for the time, but I felt the important issues were either not addressed or predetermined by the main character’s outlay.
To say I was intimidated by Aegid, Kalad and Daran is serious downplaying. I ran countless possible scenarios through my head how this relationship could play out and what the implications were. After I had run my brain ragged for some time, I decided to go with my instincts and let the characters take over. One of the wisest decisions of my life, even if I say so myself. The three men showed me quickly what they were capable of and in no time at all they became my role-model for a healthy, functioning, growing relationship – in stark contrast to Renaldo and Casto who are anything but.
This juxtaposition between these two pairings also became one of the running gags in my books, with the characters saying so themselves on several occasions.
Kalad and Aegid are ancient, they have been with Renaldo and Canubis for more than eight hundred years and during that time, they have learned that loving a human, somebody who is prone to death, only means hurt. For that reason, they have reverted to having sexual relationships only. That is, until they meet Daran.
Daran is a young man living on the streets of Kwarl who tries to steal from Aegid and Kalad who then take him to the Valley as their slave. In the first book, the three men establish their positions in this new relationship and get comfortable with each other. Because Aegid and Kalad are so much older and have known each other for so long, Daran is in a weaker position in the beginning. All he has in his favor against the prowess of the two warriors is the fact that they are smitten by him. When they meet, Daran struggles with the violent nature of his new masters as well as with their overbearing sexuality. But he stays true to himself which proves to be the best weapon against Aegid and Kalad who turn out to be the caring, possessive type.
As the story progresses, their relationship changes and grows with them and for me it’s a joy to write about them because the dynamics between them are really well-balanced.
In the following, you can read an excerpt about how Daran first met Aegid and Kalad. I hope you enjoy it.
From his hiding place between two stalls, Daran watched the hurly-burly of the marketplace.
On days like this, merchants from cities as far as Medelina and Da’Kara clustered in Kwarl to do business.
Among them were also mountain people, who came to get everything they needed and perhaps to sell cattle or other goods. Even for a pickpocket as bad as Daran was, the masses were an invitation to get into the pouches of strangers.
Daran loathed taking other people’s money, but if he did not bring home any booty today, his stepfather, Egand, would surely punish him. Unfortunately that man didn’t settle for harsh words, he always got physical.
Unconsciously, Daran rubbed the almost-faded remnants of the bruises he had gotten the last time Egand had been displeased.
Daran had stopped working as a beggar two years ago, after puberty had hit him hard. Now, at the age of seventeen, he had lost everything remotely childlike, and people did not tend to give money for free to healthy looking young men. Daran had tried to work in an honest trade, but without any training or recommendations, no master had felt an inclination to take him on.
The one time Egand had tried to work him as a prostitute, Daran had thrown up all over his customer.
Daran had been deeply appalled by the fat old man, who reeked of some terribly sweet perfume and was renowned for paying big money to have the pleasure of robbing young women and men of their virginity. Since he paid very large sums, nobody cared how violently and brutally he acted. Daran’s honest reaction had really ruined the customer’s day, and Egand had brutally punished Daran for that. The only good thing in the whole incident had been that his career as a whore had ended on that very night.
Egand never stopped nagging about his stepson’s uselessness, but even he had to accept that constant complaining did not get him anywhere. After Daran had failed in every other shady profession, he ended up becoming a thief.
He was, under normal circumstances, a nimble young man who showed surprising control of his body, but when he had to take honest people’s money, his hands turned to clay. He simply could not do it. Daran had no idea where his debilitating morals came from—he did not know his real father but was pretty sure he was no better than Egand or his mother—but hardly a day went by when he did not curse his scruples from the bottom of his heart.
His wandering gaze stopped at two men inspecting some jewelry on one of the stalls.
These men had caught his eye because their skin color was darker than that of the people living around Kwarl. Their apparel was rich and they were heavily armed with two swords and at least six daggers that Daran could see between them. Warriors, without a doubt. The smaller man wore his hair in dozens of braids that fell to his shoulders. His eyes seemed to sparkle and his mouth moved constantly. His companion was almost two heads taller—one of the biggest men Daran had ever seen. His short hair was white as if he were an old man, and his eyes were a milky blue in stark contrast to his dark skin.
For a moment, Daran thought the man might be blind.
His face and hands were covered in tattoos, which seemed to spread like a disease over his skin. The men were not what Daran considered perfect victims—they had way too many weapons on their persons for that—but they fulfilled most of the requirements he had for his “customers.” They were not citizens of Kwarl, their body language was relaxed—which made it easier for him to steal from them —and most importantly, they looked rich enough to deal with the loss of some money.
Unobtrusively, he moved in their general direction, even allowing the masses of people to carry him away from his prey before he came back in a semicircle. Around the stall with the jewelry, the crowd was very dense, which made it easy for Daran to press himself against the giant’s back and take his wallet. Just when he went to retreat with his booty, an iron grip closed around his wrist.
A deep, not unfriendly voice resounded in his ear. “I think this is mine, little thief.”
The warrior had not raised his voice, but Daran tensed involuntarily. If anyone had heard him, Daran’s fate was sealed. Luckily, nobody called for the guards, and Daran relaxed a little before facing his next problem. The fist of steel was still holding him, and the two warriors moved toward a narrow side street away from the protection the crowd offered.
Daran pretended to give up. Although every fiber in his body screamed at him to fight against the tight grip, he forced himself to relax. His plan worked. The pressure on his wrist loosened a bit, and Daran did not hesitate. With a quick yank, he freed himself and started to run.
A surprised yell followed him while Daran disappeared into the crowd. As soon as he felt safe, he slowed down. Nothing was more suspicious than somebody moving faster than everybody else. He let the crowd move him to the other end of the market before he sauntered into another side street. With a last, reassuring glance toward the crowd, he vanished into the safety of the twilight.
Again a hand landed on his shoulder.
The same voice as before carried a hint of malice now. “That wasn’t too bad, little thief. But try it again, and I’m gonna break your arm, do you hear me?”
Full of panic, Daran stared into the tattooed face in front of him. He wondered how the man had managed to follow him. As if he had read Daran’s thoughts, the second warrior enlightened him.
“It wasn’t as difficult as you might think.
Admittedly, you’re fast, but it was pretty obvious that you wanted to get away from us as far as possible. We only had to come around and wait for you here.”
Daran gulped. He didn’t know what the men wanted from him, but it could not be good. In his panic, he started to plead with them. “Please, let me go. I promise I won’t do it again.”
The faces of the warriors turned serious. The one with the braids brushed Daran’s cheeks with his fingertips.
It was only a light touch, like a butterfly’s wings, but it sent shivers down his body. He couldn’t keep himself from thinking that he wouldn’t mind sharing their bed. The image was so disturbing that he felt himself blush like a virgin.
The braided warrior smiled; his gaze was unfathomable. “Of course you won’t steal again. My brother and I are going to see to that.”
Daran’s pulse started to race.
“Please, don’t kill me. I’ll do anything you ask, anything. But please, let me live!”
“Oh, you will do as we ask, no doubt about that.
And you’ll even enjoy it.” Again the fingers brushed over his face. “Are you hungry?”
The sudden change of topic surprised Daran so much that he answered truthfully. “Yes. I’m starving.”
This time, without loosening his grip, the tall warrior led Daran around the market to the best tavern in town.
All is fair in love and war. Or is it?
On the world called Ana-Darasa, the gods of war engage in a desperate search for their lost hearts while waging a battle against the Good Mother for supremacy. But theirs is not the only struggle as dominant men, powerful rulers, and demigods clash, fiery passion erupts, and destinies are shaped on the battlefield and in the bedroom. In a war between pride and love, no victory is ever simple.
Xenia Melzer is a mother of two who enjoys riding and running when she’s not writing stories. She doesn’t like beer but is easily tempted by a Virgin Mojito. Or chocolate. Truffles are especially cherished, even though she doesn’t discriminate. As a true chocoholic, she welcomes any kind of cocoa-based delight.