Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vaughn Demont: House of Stone

A modern knight, a noble quest, and a magical sword. What could go wrong?

Welcome to the City, where gods run nightclubs, goblins hire out as mercs, sorcerers work their magic, the Fae hold court over every neighborhood…and humanity is blissfully ignorant of it all.
For minor Fae noble Richard Stone, life is going well. He has a decent fiefdom (okay, it’s a slum), a budding acting career (okay, so it’s porn), and one of only five magical swords in the City. An arranged marriage is barely a blip on his worry meter—until his family blade loses its magic. The shame of it puts his noble standing in jeopardy.

To regain his status, Richard needs help. Fortunately, his new bride is a sidhe knight and his servant Simaron has, er, his back. Together they embark on a quest to find the demon who slew his father, investigate a conspiracy that goes to the highest echelons of Fae nobility, and discover a secret family legacy that could ruin his House.

All while keeping up appearances to a society that demands perfection. And they say a noble’s life is easy…

Warning: This book contains explicit gay sex, not-so-explicit gay sex, explicitly implied gay sex, routine breaking of the fourth wall, occasional bouts of Pearl Jam fanboy-ism, and plot. Side effects include confusion and headaches, and are best avoided by reading the pages therein in numerical order.

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Genre: Urban Fantasy, Gay-Lesbian Romance
ISBN: 978-1-60928-061-1
Length: Novel
Price: 5.50
Publication Date: June 22, 2010
Cover art by Mandy M. Roth
Read An Excerpt Online

House of Stone
Vaughn Demont
“Did your scene go as expected, Your Excellency?” I’m greeted as always by Simaron, my manservant. Sim’s father served my father, his grandfather served my grandfather, you can probably see where this is going. He’s a couple inches shorter than I at six flat, and built more solidly than I as well, and dressed impeccably in a butler’s uniform. Short black hair, bright blue eyes, his skin a bit lighter than mine. You’d never guess there was sidhe blood in him.

“Well as can be expected, Sim. We’re on lunch for the next hour. The new kid came too fast so he needs time to recover.”

“Very well, my lord.” He motions to a platter of fresh fruit and a goblet of poured wine. “I have prepared a small meal, sir. I apologize for the limited selection. May I assist you with your armor?”

I nod, primarily because he’s the one who put it on me in the first place. His fingers work the straps and catches, and within minutes I’m wearing naught but a padded vest and my armor is on a stand. I’m still exposed from the waist down, but Sim sees me naked every day when he dresses me. (He has made comments about my usual taste in attire. “T-shirts and jeans are not proper for a man of your station, good sir.”)

“You seem a bit tense, Your Excellency. Is there anything amiss?” I see his eyes dart down to my groin for the barest of seconds, and realize I’m still rather erect. I shake my head once.

“Everything is fine. Any tension is from wearing that armor all day.” I stretch my back and grab an apple, biting out a hunk of it. I have no idea where he finds fresh fruit and good wine in St. Benedict (or just the Benedict as the locals say), but I’m not about to ask. “I didn’t get to finish the scene, so I’m afraid I’m still a bit eager in that regard.”

“Would you like me to attend to it, Your Excellency? My skills are as always at your disposal.”

“More than anything I’d like a shoulder rub. My back is full of knots.” Cool air slides over my body as I take off my vest. After I hand it to Sim, he dutifully folds the vest and places it on the table. I toss out the apple after taking another big bite and lie down on the cot, which Sim has furnished with satin sheets. My boots are still on. But considering how long it takes to get them off with all the laces, it’s best to leave them where they are. While on my stomach, I hear the bed creak as Sim straddles my thighs, the fabric of his slacks rubbing against my skin.

I put my face in a pillow so I won’t moan too loud when he works his magic on my shoulders. He isn’t professionally trained or anything, but after doing this for fifteen years he’s rather well-acquainted with my musculature and knows how to work out anything he’ll encounter.

“Harder, Sim, I’ve got less than an hour.” I wriggle a bit to get comfortable, sandwiching my penis between my stomach and the mattress. His fingers press harder, changing their positioning, aiming for deep tissue to find the tension and work it out as his hands travel my shoulders and spine.

“As you wish, my lord.” I can already feel the stress and tension melting away, he’s that damned good at his job. “A message arrived for you by courier this morning, sir.”

“Was it an actual courier,” I say, well, half-moan. Like I said, he’s good at this. “Or are you talking about the mailman again?”

“The post arrives in early afternoon, sir. The message was from a courier of Her Grace, Duchess Cadwyn.” His hands immediately move to the knots that just bunched up in my shoulders. There’s a bit of tension in them, now.

The City has many counties. Not counties you might think of. I mean actual counties with counts and viscounts, baronies with real barons, as well as two duchies, all part of the Kingdom of Rainbows (because when my ancestors first arrived here, there was, you guessed it, a rainbow overhead). I’m the viscount of a small part of St. Benedict that no one among my people really cares about. Duchess Cadwyn is the Duchess of Tolon Wood, right in the middle of Allora, surrounded by the rich, the famous and the cultured, which everyone among my people cares about.

And since the Queen has other areas of her kingdom that require her attention, most of the responsibilities fall to the most powerful and favored noble, who is Duchess Cadwyn. And if she sent her courier, it means one of two things, which I can discern by asking one question.

“How was it addressed, Sim?”

“To His Excellency.” His voice immediately takes a formal tone. “Count Pembroke Kendrick Llewellyn Richard Firemane, Lord of the House of Stone, Knight of the Realm, Viscount of the Benedict Shores, and Custodian of the Azure Blade.”

Damn it.

“Nice calligraphy?” I ask, but it’s a given.

“And in silver ink, sir,” he says, putting some accent on silver. His hands gently inspect my shoulders, my spine. I’m not tense, it’s just…I really don’t want to go. When you get an invitation written in silver ink from the Duchess of Tolon Park, to your full formal title, though, you go, lest you gravely insult her and humiliate yourself, your father, your grandfather… “Shall I continue the deep-tissue massage, my lord?”

“When is it?” Might as well find out so I can get it over with. I know that he opened the message, it’s his job to. It’s probably why he didn’t drop it on me until he was already giving me a rub down.

“Tomorrow, sir. Your presence is requested at dusk, formal attire of course, so your armor will need to be properly cleansed.” I hear the soft sigh, and I know what’s going through his mind: Thank the gods that Count Kendrick and Countess Regina are not alive to see their son treating family heirlooms in such a fashion.

Hey, I could be doing worse, like using the hilt of the family blade in a rather vulgar fashion in these films.

Still, tomorrow?

“Sim.” I try to keep the grumbling out of my voice. “Right now I believe I will need a much deeper massage to lift my spirits.”