Wolf Slave 11 – Alex Ankarr

3892037563_fc670d624f_z

Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe

Complete ebook available for download FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bOrRxQ

Wolf Slave 11 – Alex Ankarr

It seems enough, for Hotstaat says, ‘Then go choose a book, and come sit by me and read to me.’

‘What manner of book might you prefer, sir?’ Penn does ask, for it seems wisest not to annoy the man with ill-choices. But he gets an impatient gesture of the hand in reply, and so moves off to make a decision himself. Better not to annoy with ill-received questions, also.

Out of a library of thousands and tens of thousands of books, to make a choice for a first impression upon a new owner, for a first reading… Damn, it’s not going to be easy. The classics, Penn decides: and fiction, definitely. Out of all safe choices, it’s surely the safest. Dickens, Voltaire, Tolstoy… His eyes run over them as he walks down the stacks. Then his eye falls upon Jane Eyre, and he picks it up. Mostly because he’s right by the appropriate shelf, and he can’t afford to aggravate Hotstaat by keeping him waiting any longer. This is it, this is the one.

When he goes to sit down by Hotstaat – as invited, not as if he would take the liberty off his own bat – he begins to announce his choice of book, mention its history, and seek approval of his choice. Or at least he would, but even as he begins he gets another impatient shooing-at. ‘Just read,’ Hotstaat says, journal on his lap and staring at the fire.

So Penn just reads, and he just reads for a good long time. By the time he has come to the point of the French child, Adèle, and Rochester disclaiming parentage of her because, after all, she is not a werewolf, and if she were his child then she would most assuredly be wolf-born – well, he has almost forgotten that he has an audience.

He remembers, though, when Hotstaat interrupts the flow of his narration, turning his head and speaking to him abruptly. ‘Annoying child, simpering miss, isn’t she?’ he says to Penn. ‘One can hardly blame Rochester for wishing to disown her. Do you remember, Penn, when we were that age? I am sure we were never half such little moaners and complainers. You might have whined a little for attention when you were in a snit: but you did not continue excessively, and when you were comforted you paid heed and quieted yourself.’

And Penn is transfixed: so much so that he cannot clear his throat to speak, not even when Hotstaat abruptly rises from his seat, and exits the library with a smooth despatch that leaves him gaping. The reading is at an end, then, at least as far as this late afternoon is concerned.

That is what he thinks, left sitting there with a great gape on his face, and quite a number of thoughts chasing each other through his head. One is that Ree’s hair has darkened quite a lot, since they were kids together. Another is along the lines of well, well, so it is Ree after all. He is Ree. Another says, well, there’s a piece of my childhood gone. From beloved childhood friend to distant master, and isn’t that just the way it goes.

He remembers clutching a hold of his Ree’s neck, as they’d torn him away, the day he’d had to leave with his mother. He remembers wetness on Ree’s cheek, his lips clamped together, sturdily being a little wolf-man. Well, they’ve certainly come a long way from those days.

 

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013  All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

Advertisements

Wolf Slave 10 – Alex Ankarr

3892037563_fc670d624f_z

Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe

Complete ebook available for download FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bOrRxQ

Wolf Slave 10 – Alex Ankarr

It also occurs to Penn to linger over his previous wondering about his childhood playmate. The memories are dim and distant: to recall an exact impression of Ree, to his mind’s eye, is extraordinarily difficult. He wasn’t as dark as Hotstaat: had a soft childish lineament about the face, but that was only to be expected, of course. He was extraordinarily gentle of manner: comforted Penn when he fell and cried, shared his toys and games, split candy with him and sang to him to amuse him when Penn was sick.

It seems unlikely, in the highest degree, even based on this insubstantial beginnings of an acquaintance. So Penn dismisses it from his mind, and gets on with his work. As best he can, he disregards Hotstaat’s presence in the room, except of course to be exceedingly careful not to infringe upon house rules in any way that could call down disapproval and punishment upon his head. Not that he isn’t always alert to any such infringement: one can’t be careful enough, and there’s always someone to go tattling or catch one in a crime.

After twenty minutes or half an hour or so, he’s pretty much managed to get into a rhythm of work where he’s not too much disturbed by the presence of one of the master class in the library, his direct owner at that. But he can’t disregard that presence quite entirely: every so often Hotstaat will turn a page of his journal, or murmur the vaguest disapproving ‘tut’ at some article or other, or get up and pour himself more cordial. It’s a little distracting: but Penn perseveres. He’s encountered a lot worse than that, in his time.

So as his nerves settle and his mind wanders, his attention is eventually a good deal more upon his work than upon the unused presence at the other end of the long room. That only makes it the more startling when he’s spoken to, in an exceptionally quiet moment as he is sifting through a pile of papers and enjoying the ray of warm sunlight that shines over his face in a golden benison, dustmotes drifting through it. He jumps about a mile: then catches and calms himself.

‘Come over here, Penn,’ is what his master says to him, and the meaning, as well as the speech itself, is alarming as always. But Penn does as he is bid: because that is what a slave does.

When he stands by Hotstaat’s chair, the wolf-man does not look up at him, but continues to train his attention upon his journal for a moment, not remarking further. For a moment Penn half-thinks that perhaps he imagined the instruction, is hearing things, and is almost preparing himself to creep away again to the other end of the room in embarrassment, when Hotstaat puts down the journal, and looks up at him. Measuring, his gaze is, and hooded. There’s nothing Penn can gauge from it: and in any case he swiftly averts his eyes, the better to avoid any hint of direct challenge.

‘How is your reading voice, Penn?’ his master asks, and Penn relaxes, a little, at the question. A few owners have had him read to them, before now: could be worse, could be worse. It’s half a slave’s life, to be assessing every command and telling himself that, of course.

‘Some have adjudged it quite satisfactory, sir,’ Penn replies, with temperate modesty. Better not to go boasting: under-promise, over-deliver, that’s the thing.

 

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013  All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

Wolf Slave 9 – Alex Ankarr

3892037563_fc670d624f_z

Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe

Complete ebook available for download FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bOrRxQ

Wolf Slave 9 – Alex Ankarr

Penn nods agreeably, eyes vaguely evading directly meeting his master’s, and moves off to another part of the library to rearrange the current periodicals. He doesn’t much fancy still struggling with the filing cabinet, right under Hotstaat’s eyes: it’s inhibiting, and there is plenty more that needs doing instead. Halfway, he expects Hotstaat to leave him to it: but no. Hotstaat takes up the latest copy of the local newspaper, and pours a glass of cordial from the decanter on the long table, then seats himself in the corner in one of the soft leather easy chairs, settling down to read. Penn has not noticed the decanter before now, a new development since he was last in here. It looks like an indication that Hotstaat intends to spend a good deal of time in the library – perhaps he normally does, when not on business – and mentally Penn curses the notion.

Working under the eye of one’s master: it’s a long way from the worst thing that could happen, but it isn’t altogether agreeable, either. The general idea, he finds, is to avoid notice as far as possible: to be as much invisible and inconspicuous as one can render oneself. Attracting notice rarely proves to be a good idea. It can lead to all sorts of things, as he has found: extra work, disapprobation, demotion in duties. Approval, new training, travel, favouritism and preferences that make one unpopular with one’s fellows. Attractions, amities that might have been friendship between equals. Sexual attentions, that might be welcome but generally is not, in his brief experience of such. Whether good or bad, none of these things are under the control of the lower-caste party, which is the main reason why it’s better to avoid them altogether, by means of avoiding notice altogether.

His eyes run over Hotstaat, over in the far corner, as discreetly as he can manage it: and two thoughts enter his head pretty much simultaneously. First off it occurs to him that perhaps it wouldn’t be altogether a hardship should the wolf decide to take some notice of him in that way. Better not, because one never knows what form of expression that attention may take, and his prior experience of it wasn’t pleasant. But if things should fall out that way, Hotstaat is at least youngish and attractive, not a greying bulldog-faced asshole with a stentorian roar and a brutal dick. It all depends on the approach: and though he hates the fact, he also knows that sexually, as in any other way, plenty of owners regard their slaves as property and fair game.

 

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013  All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

What I’ve been reading – In Catcher’s Box Or Batter’s Box? by Gayle Keo

In Catcher's Box or Batter's Box?In Catcher’s Box or Batter’s Box? by Gayle Keo

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I might have rated this three stars, except that it really needs an intensive edit to fix persistent grammar issues, especially a problem with constant tense switching throughout the main story and the additional free stories in the edition I read. It’s a pity because the characters in the main story are engaging and have credible chemistry. I was a bit baffled by their early interactions, and had difficulty deducing their motivations sometimes from the information the reader was given, but their attraction was strong and clear enough to override that. I would quibble a bit that the story ends a bit abruptly, and reads more like an intro to a longer book. (Which the characters could probably justify.)

Out of the additional free stories, the one with the fairy threesome was cute with some interesting ideas. But really the standout besides the primary story was ‘Jasmine – Life Is Hip, Love Is A Gift’. The charismatic and determined heroine engages the attention and sympathy of the reader, and the credibly sympathetic beta hero is unusual and interesting. (Although given his stated personality and history, his level of sexual experience is a bit of a mystery.)

Overall the tense issue really does detract from the reading experience, and a professional edit might be justified.

View all my reviews

Wolf Slave 8 – Alex Ankarr

3892037563_fc670d624f_z

Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe

Complete ebook available for download FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bOrRxQ

Wolf Slave 8 – Alex Ankarr

But he has self-preservation aplenty, if no true respect for the race of wolves, and he scrambles to his feet and drops his eyes with appropriate submissiveness. ‘Penn, Sir. Penn child of Margaret, late the property of Jay of the Parrin clan, prior to that-’

‘Enough,’ is the response he gets, with a dismissive wave, though every slave knows well enough to be ready with a recitation of his history of ownership, like a car with its own talking logbook. ‘You are assigned to library duties?’ he asks.

‘Amongst other things,’ Penn agrees. ‘Should it suit you, sir: but my skills are various, and I can account them for you if you think I might be better put to use elsewhere. I speak both Spanish and Catalan, good Italian and fair French, a little–.’

But he’s cut off again. How very tedious he must be, for his new owner seems to want to know little enough about him. (So this is his new owner, he thinks. As handsome as the rest of the pack, with lighter eyes than most of them: something between green and blue, where most of them have brown. Just the same dissatisfied expression, though: as if the world has not strived earnestly enough to meet his very high expectations.)

Penn half-expects to be dismissed, since his owner has so very little interest in him. He stands a moment, since it’s not a slave’s place to offer suggestions nor proffer questions, and folds his hands primly before him. But for a little moment Renally Hotstaat says nothing: just looks at him, from the advantage of a couple of inches extra height. ‘How are you liking it here? Your duties. And – the other staff.’ The last bit is searched about for, clearly enough.

And Penn chooses his words carefully: because you always do. Words can be life or death, for a slave. ‘I’ve been away, lent to the Herron household, sir. I’ve not spent long enough here to say, but I’m sure I’ll settle in well.’

And he hovers another moment, waiting for dismissal, as you do, because you can’t decide that an interaction is over on your own initiative. God forbid. Silence lingers: but finally Hotstaat says, ‘Well. You may be about your business, Penn.’

 

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013  All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

it’s just a joke, bitch

wolf slave

Ehhh… you see… right…

It’s this Pam Grout ‘Art & Soul, Reloaded’ ongoing project I’m doing!  No, it’s not specifically a part of the tasks set on a weekly basis, but…  Well.  Daily creativity, right?  And I thought… the thing that I thought, was, ‘Well!  It’d totally be in the spirit of the challenge, to produce a new bookcover for one of my titles, on a daily or weekly basis, right?”

Now.  My talents are not in the visual realm, as is abundantly obvious.  That don’t hurt!  That’s in the spirit of the book, too.  Well, so what?  ‘I’ll just bang out a cover, never mind if it’s an eyesore, have fun, make something new, fantastic!’  

That’s what I thought.  So that’s what I did.  And I totally thought that a white circle on a black background, plus some minimalist lettering, would be hugely damn amusing.  A moon, right?  Satellites.  Wolves. Running with the pack, howling at the moon, all the clichés.  It would be sort of terrible.  But funny.  Humorously, good-naturedly in the spirit of the thing.  But…

Hey, I’m not saying it’s, er, Michelangelo or something.  (Or a renowned book-cover designer, names of whom I am clearly unfamiliar with.)  But…

Eh.  I sort of like it.

 

Wolf Slave 7 – Alex Ankarr

3892037563_fc670d624f_z

Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe

Complete ebook available for download FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bOrRxQ

Wolf Slave 7 – Alex Ankarr

He arrives back to no ceremony either; he has most of his few possessions in two cases, and the rest is to be sent on. No-one has expected him, nor seems glad to see him, and he has no organised plan of work to occupy himself with. Still, he was bought to make himself useful, and being as it’s the middle of a bright afternoon and no feast day or holiday has been granted, he figures that he’d best show willing and find occupation or the seeming of it, whether there’s anything that clearly needs doing or not.

So he hies himself to the main library in the north wing: and finds that, after all, he can probably keep himself busy enough. For it’s clear enough that no re-organisation nor collation has been going on since he left: and indeed if no-one else gets formally assigned to the duties, it’s probably all on him to get the Hottensat family records into some kind of shape.

Well. No time like the present, he supposes.

He’s deep in a brown study, when the heavy oak door of the library creaks, and he’s too absorbed to take much heed. The Hotstaat family history is labyrinthine, and in many instances scandalous, and really very- He’s not alone, that’s what he suddenly realises, crouched down to some filing cabinets and looking for a family album that’s out of order, in a dusty moted corner. Someone stands over him, behind him, towering over.

He looks back, and knows at least that it’s a Hotstaat, though not one he’s seen before. There’s a strong family resemblance amongst the whole clan, and when a number are gathered together it’s like a loud-voiced handsome quarrel of ravens. For they’re all tan and black-haired and moody of feature, smooth good-looking surly wolves to a wolf-man.

‘You’re new,’ is the curt greeting he gets. ‘I am Renally Hotstaat: identify yourself, man.’ It’s not aggressive, and nothing like the dismissiveness he’s accustomed to from some of the slave-owning class. But still Penn feels about six inches high, and very much a product to be bought and sold: as much something to be classified and catalogued as any of the books and folios he’s been dealing with this afternoon, and for months past.

 

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013  All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

Wolf Slave 6 – Alex Ankarr

3892037563_fc670d624f_z

Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe

Complete ebook available for download FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bOrRxQ

Wolf Slave 6 – Alex Ankarr

He wonders, now, about his master. Renally, Renally Hotstaat, sometimes going by Ree. Penn’s ownership history is incomplete, his paperwork unsatisfactory, which brought down his price a fair whack at auction. He’s reliant purely on memory to some extent: and the family name of his first owner family is lost in time. But no, he thinks. It isn’t very likely: and it’s not such an uncommon name after all.

No doubt this fellow is a fat fifty-something, with a full beard and an air of blustering authority, who will bully and chivvy him on to more and more onerous duties, will perhaps harrass him for sexual favours like his owner prior to the last one, will- Penn manages to depress and worry himself with speculations, then dismisses all such unprofitable mental ambling. He’ll meet his new lord and master, soon enough. It will probably be bad news, like most things. He’s hardened up to that, by now.

***

A month, then two, pass. He spends much of them loaned out to a pack in the neighbouring state, for their libraries are in disarray after a fire and a burglary. With the aftermath of these things, and his own duties, and two family weddings being planned for this neighbour pack, the slaves and lower servants have an abundance of gossip to occupy them. Such an abundance, in fact, that no-one is the slightest bit interested in the visiting slave, nor his owner-family, nor the absent head of it. He’s forgotten the subject himself in a way: in the way that he’s owned, and he knows he’s owned, it’s just a fact. And he never has his speculation about the name of his owner come so much as to the forefront of his mind. Though if he was reminded he might begin speculating once more. He’s busy enough with his own duties, and more besides which are loaded on him: frantic with it.

Then, middle of the afternoon with the etiquette section not yet finished – it needs updating and new volumes ordering in – an estate truck is heading over to the Hotstaat estate, by chance, with goods and messages. And the chief of staff – a dignified freeman, an upper servant with the fullest consciousness of his status – decides that Penn has done sufficient, and can be dispensed with a day or two early. So that’s that, and he’s bundled off with barely a farewell and no goodbye supper, after two months making at least a few acquaintances and a friend or two. That’s a slave’s life after all: no autonomy and nothing you can rely on, and any human connections you make can be broken at a moment’s notice. And that’s the best you can hope for: it says nothing of the worst.

 

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013  All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

Wolf Slave 5 – Alex Ankarr

3892037563_fc670d624f_z

Photo in the public domain by Jack Kurzenknabe

Complete ebook available for download FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bOrRxQ

Wolf Slave 5 – Alex Ankarr

He sits and looks as learned as he’s capable of, over them, and lets his mind wander a little. Ree: it’s been ever so long since he last heard that name. First he heard it, he thinks – thinking back hard, and his brow furrowing a little – when he was little more than a toddler, perhaps three years old. That was when his mother – slave-born, too – was moved to a new household, and most of his memories begin at around that time. There was another little boy in the household, except sometimes he was a puppy instead. He was one of the master’s family, and Penn remembers him still, although not well. His name was Ree.

Most of his memories from that point until he was six are tangled up with Ree: in fact most of them are either of Ree and himself, or his mother and himself, and really precious little else. Almost like brothers, he supposes, they were: or as near as you can get, when one’s of the master class, the wolves, and the other is slave and human. The adults, both slave and servant, and wolf, thought them precious: yes, they must have been adorable, he supposes, tumbling and fighting and playing together, mostly in the most perfect amity. Ree had been a little older, a year or two: Penn had adored and followed him slavishly – the irony of it. One of his most vivid memories is of Ree as a wolf, and the two of them playing in an orchard: Ree tripping him up and leaping all over him, play-growling then licking his face until he’d giggled and he’d almost wet himself.

They’d been happy, pretty nearly perfectly so. He hadn’t hated wolves, back then: hadn’t had the sense or the information to do it. He doesn’t think of Ree frequently, now: can’t remember the last time he did so. But it’s strange to look back, and have it occur to him that one of the people he’s loved most in his life, thus far, was a wolf. There’s an irony in it.

When his mother was sold and took him with her, he’d kicked up a storm of rage, because leaving Ree behind was clearly unacceptable. The matriarch of the household, normally chilly and distant, had even got herself involved and patted his head, picked up her son and leaned them close enough in together that they could grab each other angrily and wail. ‘Poor little brat,’ she’d said with rough sympathy. ‘That’s the way of the world, I’m afraid: they’d both better get used to it.’ He can remember it, even now, clear as day. He can remember the anger that swirled inside him, too.

In the new household, with the new masters, they’d been much less happy, and even his mother was unsettled. He’d missed Ree horribly: but wasn’t allowed to write, or remain in touch in any way. It wasn’t deemed appropriate. Then, six months in, his mother had died, and it was a wolf’s fault. So, Penn hates wolves, now: not only for that reason, but it doesn’t help any.

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2013  All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Read the sequel to Wolf Slave immediately, available on Amazon and free to read to members of Kindle Unlimited! Find out what’s next for Ree and Penn, and if love or freedom are in Penn’s future, in Wolf Runaway, 2nd in the Wolf Wars quintet!

The Entomologist and NoSpiders-Man – 6

spidey2

The Entomologist and NoSpiders-Man – 6

Markov pursed his lips and nodded slightly.  But it was more as if he felt Adam seemed to need the acknowledgement, and he politely offered it, rather than actually being interested. Then he bent to pick up his shopping bags, nodded again and said, “Well, must be getting along. I’ve got some frozen berries in there as well as lamb chops, the heat won’t be doing ’em any good.” And he pulled a key out of his pocket, and turned towards his own apartment door.

What the hell? “What?” Adam asked incredulously. Well, it was a bit of a yelp, actually. “You’re just going to leave me here…stranded?” Maybe he sounded a bit pathetic. But he was practically stranded on a desert island, with nothing but a palm tree and a couple of coconuts to keep him company, here.  Figuratively.

Markov’s shoulders sagged, a little. And he stood a moment, with his key in the lock, and his shopping bags hanging off his arm. “I could call the supervisor for you?” he offered, without even the courtesy of turning around.

“And leave me out here? I’ll freeze! Even if you’re new, you should have realised it takes him hours to respond to a call by now!” Adam whined. It wasn’t that warm anymore, and the chilly breeze was giving him goosebumps. He hardly knew where to put his hands to keep himself decent, and try to keep warm too.

“I’ll fetch you a blanket while you wait?” Markov offered hopefully, turning his head a bit at least. He had to know that Adam was angling for an invite into his apartment while he waited. It would at least be one interesting upside to this whole trauma.

Adam pouted, and Markov caved. Not as far as issuing an invite, but…

Well, a minute and thirty seconds later, Adam was wondering if what he ought to be worrying about was living opposite someone with such impressive lock-picking skills. “I thought you were an entomologist,” he asked, slightly accusing, as Markov pushed open Adam’s front door and gestured to him.  (Much as if to say, ‘Voilà, all yours!’) “Not a locksmith.” (‘Locksmith’ seemed more polite than ‘potential burglar’.) “Where did you get your ‘breaking and entering’ chops?”

 

 

© Alex Ankarr 2017, all rights reserved.  Including the stellar artwork, don’t go stealing my spidey, peoples.

YAY!  6th installment of my bug-hunter/bug-phobic gay romance, here it is!