Today marks the publication of The Magician's Assistant, a novelette about darkness, desire, atoning for bad decisions... and, yes, real, bone-deep magic.
But when Rain arrives, he finds himself interviewing for far more than a job. This magician is no charlatan. He's as hard and cold as his magic, magic than can send a sword through a man's heart and leave it beating. To take that sword, his assistant must possess unique qualities. Obedience. Loyalty. Trust. And maybe... love.
If Rain can give all that, and somehow persuade the magician to offer it back, he might just find the life he's been searching for.
The Magician's Assistant is available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books, iTunes, and just about everywhere else ebooks are sold.
And now, being properly exhausted, I shall leave you with an excerpt.
**Adult material - not for readers under 18**
“Are you quite comfortable?”
Rain smiled slightly. His spine stretched unnaturally against the drag of his own body, his toes just barely brushing the floor. Chains ground against his wrist bones, and already the strain made his shoulders ache, set his arms on fire. “Not… exactly.”
The magician nodded. He adjusted neither chain or hook.
And that, at least, was exactly what Rain had expected of him. His smile hardened. So the magician wanted to hurt him? Good. He could handle it.
The magician circled him, chin tipped down. His hair fell forward to shadow his gaze. “The sword,” he said, “is a tool in many tricks of illusion. But this is not a trick. I do not practice illusion; my business is magic. Do you believe in magic, boy?”
“I believe, sir.”
“Then if I were to put this blade through your belly, you believe that I could do so without causing harm to your body?”
Rain sucked in a labored breath. “Yes, sir.”
“There is only one matter remaining then. Trust.” The corner of the magician’s mouth lifted in an acerbic half-smile. He bent to retrieve the mended scarf he’d set aside earlier. It trailed silken and sin black from his hands. “Do you trust me, boy?”
Rain stared at the scarf. In four years, he had never been blindfolded. It was his only hard limit, the one thing he would not allow. He would do anything, give himself over to anything—as long as he could see it coming.
This was his last chance to walk away. Even with the shut door and the chains locked around him, the magician was giving him one final chance to leave unscathed.
But he couldn’t. Because there was the word, trust, and that was what it all came down to. Did he trust this man?
Arctic eyes gazed back at him with scarcely veiled amusement—and challenge. The gaze and the half-bitter smile told him he was a fool to trust. Rain thought he might be just that, because for the life of him, he couldn’t walk away now.
“Yes, sir.” He let his eyes slide shut. “I trust you, sir.”
The air stirred in hot currents as the magician stepped in close. Silk whispered against Rain’s cheek and then settled into place over his eyes. He could smell the other man on the fabric, a scent of orange and clove that teased him, that made him wish for the touch of impossibly warm skin against him. His heart beat hard and fast. But the magician didn’t touch him. Not yet.
It was cold steel that found his skin. Cold steel that touched and kissed him. Not slicing, not stabbing, though his body reacted as if it did, muscles contracting in an instinctive effort to pull him out of harm’s way. Instinctive and futile, as the chains clanked and pulled tight at his wrists. The sword went on as if he hadn’t moved at all, the tip of it grazing the ridge of his hipbone, rising to slowly count his ribs. Light as a breath, the blade traced over his chest, circling each nipple with a deliberate closeness that made Rain’s breath catch.
“And still you trust me?” the magician murmured.
Rain forced a hard exhale. “Yes.”
The rapier stroked a straight line down from the center of his chest, sharp point coming to rest in the indent of his navel.
A flush crept up Rain’s neck. His groin flooded with heat. “Yes. Always.”
“Good,” the magician said, and pushed the sword forward...