What I’ve been reading: ‘In Red, With Pearls’ by Patricia Briggs

Oh, wow.  This is the eighth story in the ‘Shifting Shadows’ short story collection by Patricia Briggs.  And this, this is my favourite, by far.

5355256940_ea1fb8b053_oimage – Conejo Conejo https://www.flickr.com/photos/findingalice/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/, no changes

It was an unfair contest, really.  This is the first story to give Mercyverse characters Warren, and his human mate Kyle, starring roles.  Warren and Kyle.  I know for sure that they’re not just my favourites.  They are swoony, ladies.  And gentlemen.  Swoony.

And it’s not only that it features my special pets.  This story, compared to the others thus far, is perfectly structured, the harmony of incident and character sings out, it’s just so satisfying.  It gives you everything you need to work with, warning rumblings of the storm ahead.  And yet, they’re backgrounded sufficiently for the ending to be a kick in the teeth from a mule.

And the passion!  The naked emotion from manly reserved men!  (Well, manly reserved Warren.  Kyle doesn’t hold back his feelings, any more than a bustin’ dam with a hundred tons of water pent up behind it.  When Kyle is indignant or enamoured or just plain out for blood, then look out!)

Oh man, don’t mess with Warren – or his man!  I pity the sister who messes with Warren’s Mr!  (Or Kyle’s, for that matter.)

Dammit.  It’s just too good.  It’s a taste that only makes the reader hungry for more: for a full-length novel, with Warren and Kyle front and centre.  Come onSurely there must be plans in the works?  A novella, even?  A little prequel covering how they met and got together would be amazing!

Ms Briggs!  With all these wonderful LGBTQ characters, you have truly spoiled us!  And like any spoilt brat, all I can say is can we have MORE slashy Mercyverse stories, and soon!  (Can we have gay Bran?)  (Can we have any kind of romance for Bran?  Bran needs lovin’!  Urgently!)

There’s just something about a gay werewolf, folks.  Furry, muscular, wild and free under the moon…  And after this wonderful story, I’m just howlin’ for more.

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Wolf Slave 11 – Alex Ankarr

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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!

Wolf Slave 10 – Alex Ankarr

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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

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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!

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.

 

Another World, Another Love – Time Travel Gay Romance!

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Buy Another World, Another Love by Alex Ankarr!

Jodi is a scientist, a rational man, a researcher into travel between alternate universes. If he’s also in love with the laboratory’s senior researcher, Michael, then so what? It’s not as if anything’s ever going to come of it, Michael has never looked at him with a trace of interest in that way… Until their experiments get closed down by the authorities, and they make one last reckless desperate attempt to reach an alternate reality. A reality where they find werewolves, and vampires, and a whole other Jodi and Michael, living very different lives…

Image – https://www.flickr.com/photos/andryn2006/, licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

What I’ve been reading – Hopcross Jilly by Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson: Hopcross JillyPatricia Briggs Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly by Patricia Briggs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I preferred this graphic novel short story to some of the regular installments in text-format of the Mercy Thompson story. The artwork was beautiful, the colour-scheme was perfect – moody and Gothic – and Adam in particular was beautifully drawn. He looked almost as young as he’s actually supposed to appear. (Although Mercy looked rather younger, TBH.)

It’s nice to have a Jesse-centric story, as she’s one of my favourite characters and I love her interactions with Mercy. And a genuinely unnerving old-wives’-tale Big Bad, too! Four stars all round.

ETA – must also add, as always – where the heck is the contemporary Bran-centric story, with a real romance for him? Where? WHERE? It must surely be in the works? Surely? Please?

View all my reviews

Whipped By A Werewolf – Sexy Paranormal Gay Romance!

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Buy Whipped By A Werewolf  by Alex Ankarr!

Would you want to get down and intimate with a wolf? A supernatural, magical shifter, dangerous and hot? Tate thinks the guy who’s living in the apartment next door is maybe, possibly, some kind of supernatural creature. Maybe a werewolf. He’s certainly magically hot, anyway. And when he’s having some fun alone time thinking about the guy, is when he gets an unexpected visit…

Image – https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/, licence https://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/

Another World, Another Love – Time Travel Gay Romance!

35231202125_ef76da187c_k

Buy Another World, Another Love by Alex Ankarr!

Jodi is a scientist, a rational man, a researcher into travel between alternate universes. If he’s also in love with the laboratory’s senior researcher, Michael, then so what? It’s not as if anything’s ever going to come of it, Michael has never looked at him with a trace of interest in that way… Until their experiments get closed down by the authorities, and they make one last reckless desperate attempt to reach an alternate reality. A reality where they find werewolves, and vampires, and a whole other Jodi and Michael, living very different lives…

Image – https://www.flickr.com/photos/andryn2006/, licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

call of the wild

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“He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survive.”

― Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Image – https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/ via https://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/