Happy day! I have made it through ALL the edits of Tristan II: A Brat's Tale. My editor did an excellent job. I learned that Tristan says "really" a lot. But don't worry, my editor made sure to kill my darlings for me! Ha!
I've had some bad editing experiences. I partially wrote about this in another blog and while I won't thank someone for being cruel to me, I will say that because of that experience, getting edited now is a breeze. The editors for both Tristan II and Xavier's School were excellent and kind but didn't hesitate to tell me, "Hey Mock, you need to fix this..." and I was able to openly receive their knowledgable critiques.
Tristan is cleaned and polished---now, I must write a few (short) scenes I didn't have time to complete before I gave it to the editor. Mostly just elaborations on spankings within the book which I know this crowd appreciates. *wink*
All right, I have babbled enough. The art! As I eluded to, I have two pieces. I'm sincerely hoping my cover design artist can somehow use both. I have shown one before (but I'll post it again so it's here and add it to the gallery) and the other is the new one with Corrik and Bayaden.
AND, the artist who's done all the art for Tristan (including the black dragon tattoo), M.A. Sambre, is hard at work for very special third piece of cover art for the third and final instalment of the Tristan series: Dragon's Blood.
And with this art I have a surprise--an excerpt! This is the first look at Tristan II. I hope you enjoy.
Tristan II: A Brat's Tale ~ Chapter One
“Good job I’m not you, Tristan. When Bayaden sees that, he’ll skin you alive.”
That’s Tom, manservant to King Caer Gai, standing there with his smooth tuft of yellow-orange hair. He’s right too you know. Bayaden probably will skin me alive—if he finds out. I take the white shirt and toss it in the fire. The two of us watch as it goes up in flames, all evidence vanishing before our very eyes.
Tom looks at me like I’m crazy and he’s right; I am crazy. What I’m not is stupid. “Won’t he notice one less shirt in his closets, Tristan?”
“Are you kidding me? That pompous ass has more shirts, pants, and boots than he knows what to do with. He’ll never miss one plain, non-unique blouse when he’s got at least seven more.” My lips curl around the Elvish words and while I don’t ever think I’ll have command of the language like Tom does, I’m proud that I can speak Elvish fluently. It’s not easy to learn.
As for Bayaden’s blouse, there's no way I'm bringing it back with a large red stain on it, especially when it would be the second one this week. As long as I live, I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of laundry. This time it honestly wasn’t my fault. I made a point to separate the colored fabrics from the whites, but somehow one white blouse ended up with the colored clothes. I swear, it had a life of its own and made its way into the wrong pile.
“If you say so, Tristan.”
I get on well with Tom, but both our royals keep us busy and we don’t see each other often. It always seems to be when I run into Tom that I’m in the middle of trouble. The guy probably thinks I'm loony. Maybe I am a bit; this place can make any sane man go a bit 'round the twist. “Don’t worry about me. I know exactly how to handle Prince Bayaden. He thinks he’s so smart, but I’m always three steps ahead of him,” I say tapping my noggin. “That’s the secret.”
“I’ll take note,” he says. I don't think he believes me.
“As you well should.” I grab the last bit of Bayaden’s laundry, poke at the ash that was his white blouse with a fire poker, and salute Tom before I make my way back to Bayaden’s chambers.
It’s early. Bayaden is sleeping soundly in his four-poster bed while I’ve polished boots, gathered laundry and ordered his breakfast. I used to have to bring it to him as well, but I seem to either get sidetracked on my way to the kitchens or Meren would stuff me full of whatever goodies she’d made that day (despite Bayaden’s orders) and I wouldn’t be hungry enough to eat with Bayaden. It irritated him when he couldn’t feed me. He likes to have me eat with him, claiming it gets lonely with just him in his chambers. I suggested he go eat with his family if he wanted company, which did not go over well. I spent that meal hanging by my wrists from a chain slung over the rafters in his chambers, with some phallic-shaped thing stuffed in my mouth as he ate divine-smelling food and lectured me on the importance of speaking to him respectfully. He also said I could either eat with him at the table, or he’d string me up just as uncomfortably every mealtime, where I could watch him eat then take my meal from the floor once he’d finished his. I kept my mouth shut after that. Bayaden can be grouchy, but if I’m obedient, he’s good to me.
I set the laundry basket down and move to slide the curtains open. The bright sunshine will wake him—he’ll hate it. I get few pleasures in life now that I’m a manservant. Bayaden’s scowl when he’s forced to wake with the sun is one of them. “Do that and I’ll tan your pretty hide,” he says before I can so much as touch the curtains.
“But, m’Lord, it’s a beautiful day,” I say, deepening my Aldrien, Elvish accent. “The sun is shining, the birds are calling, and the flowers are blooming. Does that mean it’s spring here? Or summer? I can’t tell.”
“Quit your nonsense. You know it’s always summer here.”
“How can it always be summer here?”
“Because it is. Come.” I climb onto the bed and he pulls the covers down. He’s naked of course. “Suck.”
I scowl at him. His eyes are still closed. “Only if you ask me nicely. I’m not your dog.”
“Suck my cock, now, or I’ll put a leash on you, and you’ll know exactly what it’s like to be a dog,” he says, his dark eyes glittering. He can be such an arse in the morning.
I move to his cock. It’s large. All the Elves seem to have gigantic members, the thickness of tree trunks and the length of human arms. Okay, I might be exaggerating about that last bit, but that’s what it feels like when I swallow the thing into my too-small-for-it mouth.
“Mmmmm … You’re good at that. It’s my favorite reason Andothair gave you to me.”
I want to bite him for that. I don’t though. I’ve only bitten Bayaden once and I’ll never do it again. I don’t like to think about why. Coming awake now, he pushes his hips up into my mouth, and when I hit a nice spot, he grabs the short hair at the nape of my neck, so he can move my head how he likes.
My beautiful long hair is gone, has been for some time, since Andothair lopped it off. They won't let me grow it back. I lick up his shaft and to the underside of the head of his cock then swallow him up again and suck and suck and suck. It’s not long before he’s releasing into my mouth and I’m doing my best to swallow around his engorged cock. I lick him off and wipe my chin with my fist.
“Well, I guess you’ve had your breakfast then,” he says.
He laughs. I’ve come to love his laugh. “Not to worry, little human, I won’t allow you to starve. Come up here.”
He won’t. He’s oddly attentive.
I crawl into his arms and he cards his hand through my short hair, as he lazily strokes my hard cock. I enjoy. His hand is large, able to fit my whole cock inside like it’s got its own cave and Elves have wonderful uses of magic for sex, like getting the body to stimulate the release of a fluid to act as lube, which he coats the shaft with. I push my hips upward, fucking his hand, moaning.
Suddenly, his hand squeezes too hard around my cock. I pant and freeze, tears spring to my eyes and I have to wait until his thought passes. “B-Baya, what’s the deal?” I grit out.
“You said you’d always stay, no matter what. You made a trade: You for him.”
Well, that’s something we’ve not discussed in a while. By him he means Diekin who is safely in Mortouge. “I’m staying,” I cry. “I’m yours, remember?”
He releases my cock, which hasn’t wilted. Why not, you ask? It’s just had the life squeezed out of it. But I am a fool who likes danger; it turns me on more and I’d fucking like to finish what he started. Only now he’s in a mood. He climbs out of bed, ready to set the room on fire. “You aren’t really mine.”
“What in the name of the Gods has gotten into you? I never leave this room without some kind of marking on me.”
Marking culture is rampant among Elves. Like bloody wolves they are. Of course, Bayaden has to be careful how much he marks me and where he marks me. I am a lowly slave, and he is Aldrien royalty. It’s complicated.
He doesn’t answer me. “Dress me, Human.”
I’m Human when he’s pissed and little human when he’s pleased. And damn him, my cock still aches, disappointed. He loves it all: the dominance, the orders, and the obedience, even the violence.
If Baya wants to be an arse, I can give it right back to him. “How shall I dress you this morning, Sire?” I’m icy cold and sarcastic.
“We will practice today,” he grunts.
I refuse to speak to him as I dress him for the fields. Aldrienians don’t wear a lot when they fight, but at least their important bits are protected. A wide belt, with the emblem of his family crest as big as his abdomen, goes around his waist, and I help him with a baldric strap that runs diagonally across his chest so his sword can rest on his back. He’ll wear shoulder armor on his right, that I will help him put on once we arrive at the training fields, and wide bands of armor around his wrists. Bayaden has a large scar that runs from his forehead and carries down under his eye to the top of his cheekbone. He likes to boast about the time he almost lost his eye, but with magic and good healing, it was saved. The rest of it was bad enough he was able to keep the scarring should he choose to.
And of course, he did. He says it makes him look fiercer with it than without it for ‘striking fear into the heart of his enemies’. Good Lord. Above his eye is a tattoo in Elven Script that says Tar Jian. It’s quiet now, but sometimes he allows it to glow with magic, which helps him look like a vengeful spirit. I’ll never tell him, but I think it makes him look fierce too and I often find myself running fingers over it. He’s a stunning creature and when I’m not cursing his name, I’m staring at him in awe.
I like to think I know something of the warlord after all the time we’ve spent living in close quarters and behind his anger is pain of a kind he isn’t used to feeling. I dare to reach and move his hair behind a tall, Elven ear. He starts but lets me. He won’t look at me. “I loved you before the oath, Baya. Do you doubt me?”
His eyes glisten when he looks at me; my palm rests on his cheek. “I do not doubt you.”
“Then stop this nonsense. Or your breakfast will get cold and I’m not taking the blame for that.”
He smirks. “You’ll take the blame all right. You are to blame, kicking all other thought but you out of my head and monopolizing the space.”
I lean in to kiss him. “Apologize.”
“You were mean to my cock, Baya and for no good reason.”
He smiles. “Don’t need one.”
“At least finish the job.”
He has a wry expression on his face and pulls me toward the table seating me on his lap. “Can’t. You said so yourself, the breakfast will get cold.”
“Besides, I have something for you.”
I nuzzle into his neck and feel him sink into the closeness. I love our banter, but I don’t like fighting with him that way. It reminds me too much of the beginning and while our beginning has some comical highlights, I’d rather what we have now. “If it’s another hairbrush, I decline. My arse is spanked enough thank you.”
He laughs. “It’s not a hairbrush, but thanks for reminding me. I haven’t taken that to your backside in too long.”
I groan. “What’s my present?”
“After breakfast,” he says, forking a sausage, taking a bite and then feeding me the other half. “But I shall give you a hint.”
He lifts my hand the one the ring on it that was given to me by Papa at my coming-of-age ceremony. “It was in a bag with this.”
I think about that bag. A bag with three contents, stolen from my room the day after my wedding. Ring. Dagger. Tunic.
Sharp pain slices through my heart. It’s quick though, so quick I’m able to carry on as nothing happened.
I doubt he’ll return my dagger to me. “Is it my tunic?”
He smiles wide. “Don’t worry little human, it is safe. Eat your breakfast and then you shall find out.”
I breathe in relief, but at the same time, a thousand sensations make their way to the surface, feelings, and thoughts stir, ones that haven’t stirred in a long time. I don’t allow myself to think about him. I won’t say his name.
But the thought creeps in about what he would have done if he’d found that tunic. I bet he’d have done to it what I did to Bayaden’s shirt earlier. I resented him for taking me from my family. It was his fault I had my title stripped, he never heard me, he did what he wanted when he wanted. He was selfish. Arrogant. Pig-headed.
And yet, I loved him.
I love him.
I wipe a tear from my eye.
I can barely eat my breakfast, but I do since Bayaden has his weird thing about me eating. He leaves me to finish, and heads to the back of his closets, returning with something on a hanger. “Is that my…? But it’s got …”
“Pants.” He holds out both my Markaytian battle tunic and a new, matching pair of pants, proud. “I couldn’t let you wear such a nice battle tunic with those hideous things you wear. I had them made in the same color as like you would have had at home.”
It is burgundy.
Home. I know this sounds fucking sappy, but these days home isn’t a place like it was when I was a kid, it’s when the end of the day comes and I lay with Bayaden in his bed, looking at the stars out his window.
You had another home once, Tristan.
But why? Why was he home too? None of it makes any sense. Corrik cared about Corrik.
You just said his name.
Ugh, stop it brain. Besides I didn’t say it. I thought it, there’s a difference.
“I wear these ‘hideous pants’ because you won’t allow me anything else,” I say. These pants are my only article of clothing and I’m lucky to have them at all. Receiving another article of clothing is a big deal. Not to mention, Bayaden’s never given me a gift before; I had to steal the pants I’m wearing, with the only other thing on my body—the black collar bearing his insignia. I don’t know what to say. I stand and rush over to him, he hands me the outfit. I hug it, and can still smell home on the tunic, a smell that will never leave it no matter how much it's washed: blood, mud, and sweat.
It reminds me of Father. I miss my father.
What would he have to say about you? You didn’t even try to escape. You didn’t want to. Aldrien was a convenient place to hide.
Things with Corrik were so hard though. Things with Bayaden are easy.
“Thank you, Bayaden. I have no words. This is the nicest thing someone’s done for me in a long while.” This tugs at the threads of me and I’m a loosely sewn cloth at best these days. “Does this mean we’re boyfriends? Are we going together? What do you Elves call it?” I love teasing the giant warlord.
“You’re a hair away from a spanking,” he says.
I smile and press my lips to his. “Thank you,” I murmur. “This is most precious.”
He inhales as I kiss him, gathers me into his arms and then tosses me onto the bed. Most slaves don’t wear clothes in the palace. Being given clothes is meaningful; I’ve just gained a bit of status for myself.
Bayaden begins to ravage me like a madman after that. He nips and bites at my neck, sucking his way along my thigh where his mouth clamps down and I moan at the lovely pain. I release my new prize, the clothes, in favor of his dark hair, which I cling to by the root and he lets go my thigh in favor of my cock. He’s only teasing me though; I know he wants to fuck me.
Before long, he’s readied my entrance for him, though there’s seldom a time anymore that my entrance needs much readying—we fuck a lot. He slams into me with wild abandon pouring the feelings he cannot say into each thrust.
We kiss. “I love kissing you, Tristan.” His tongue weaves with mine, he thrusts some more, his hands are all over my body, he thrusts again and we’re both breathing as if we’ll never get air. He comes, releasing his seed into me, and without any more urging from my cock, I come just after him. Without stopping to clean ourselves, he flips me over and we begin again.
I don’t worry over Corrik for the rest of the morning, but he’s entered my sphere again and like Corrik does, his energy barges in and takes over everything.