Guest Author Sue Brown – The Sky is Dead

I love my kids. Even when they’re being a complete pain in the arse, I love them. I certainly don’t care if they are gay, straight, bi, trans, pan, a… and any other sexual I can think of, and I certainly wouldn’t throw them out of my house for being gay. Sadly, other parents don’t feel the same way.

I don’t know where the initial idea for The Sky is Dead came from. Probably from the endless stories on Facebook and Twitter from men and women who have been rejected by their parents for being LGBT. The individual stories make for grim reading. So many people have been estranged from their parents for a lifetime because of their sexual orientation. It’s easy to blame religion totally for this alienation but I think that’s naïve, and this isn’t the place to discuss religious doctrine.

Let’s think of the kids who are rejected by the very people who are supposed to love and protect them.

They’ve not only experienced family prejudice and rejection, and probably bullying at school. They may suffer mental health issues as they come to terms with their sexual or gender identity. Once out on the streets, they may have to turn to prostitution to survive, or be exploited by others. It goes without saying that suicide rates go up among LGBT homeless kids.

I want to do something to help, so I am donating the royalties from this book to The Albert Kennedy Trust, a UK charity supporting LGBT homeless youth. The charity was dedicated to Albert Kennedy, a sixteen year old homeless young man who fell to his death from the top of a car park in Manchester in 1989. In the same year an organisation was formed in Manchester to support young people like Albert Kennedy and the trust was dedicated to Albert as he epitomised everything the Trust was set up to prevent.

I leave you with a few useful websites; both UK and US.

The Albert Kennedy Trust – AKT supports young LGBT 16-25 year olds who are made homeless or living in a hostile environment

The Ali Forney Center New York center supporting LGBT homeless youth.

Broken Rainbow (LGBT domestic violence organisation) – Support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people experiencing domestic violence
Stonewall Housing – Run a free, confidential housing advice for LGBT people of all ages, across London, via a daily advice line (020 7359 5767) and three drop-in surgeries. We also run six hostels for LGBT people under 25.

The Trevor Project– Suicide prevention services and crisis intervention.

The Sky is Dead is not all gloom and despondency. Rather it’s a celebration of Danny’s determination to survive, and the love story between Danny and a young man who slowly teaches Danny to trust again.


Danny is young, gay, and homeless. He lives in the park, preferring to avoid attention, but when thugs confront a stranger, Danny rushes to his rescue. He and the would-be victim, Harry, form a cautious friendship that deepens months later, when Harry persuades Danny to visit his home. Daring to believe he has found happiness, Danny finds his world turned upside down yet again when tragedy strikes.

Until he runs out of options, Danny won’t trust anyone. Finally he has to accept the offer of a home, and Danny becomes David, but adjusting to a new life isn’t easy. When he meets the mysterious Jack, it stirs up feelings he thought were long gone. Can David dare to allow himself to love? Or will the truth bring his new world tumbling down around him?


August 2012

“WHY do you never mention your parents?”

“Hmmm?” I hadn’t been listening, too lost in the feel of Jack’s strong hands massaging my feet.

“Your parents. You never talk about them.”

I shrug indifferently, not really interested in talking about my family. “They threw me out.”

There’s a long pause before Jack says, “When?”

“When what?” He digs his clever fingers hard into the ball of my foot, and I hold back a yelp.

“When did they throw you out?”

“Five minutes past twelve on New Year’s Day, 2000.”

“How old were you?”


“Your parents threw you out when you were still at school?”


He’s silent for a minute and then more questions. I know there will be more questions. There are always questions if you are honest.

“Why did they throw you out?”

Reluctantly I open my eyes, because he has stopped digging into my feet and I’m not happy. “Why do you think?”

“Because you are gay.”

“Bingo. On the nose. Ding ding ding for the brainbox.”

“But you were a kid.” He sounds outraged for me.

“What’s that got to do with it? You know it happens all the time.”

“I thought that sort of thing didn’t happen over here. I thought we were all”—he makes air quotes with his fingers—“enlightened.”

I shrug again. “Obviously my parents missed that memo.” I wriggle my toes hopefully, but Jack doesn’t take the hint.

“What made them throw you out?”

“I just told you that.” I try not to snap, but we’ve been having a chilled evening on the sofa. Him, me, a bottle of wine, and a long, leisurely massage that was hopefully going to end in a happy ending. I was still hopeful that might happen.

No such luck. He tickles my foot enough to make me really yelp. “Tell me why they chucked you out, then.”

“Do I have to? It was a long time ago.”

“Please tell me what happened.” Jack holds me down with one hand and cups my chin with the other. I get lost in his expression, his eyes dark, the deepest forest green.

“I don’t want you to know.”

Jack kisses me softly. “I know you don’t, but I need to know. Tell me where you lived.”

My mouth is dry, and I lick my lips, trying to moisten them enough to speak. It’s so hard to talk about this part of my life. All I’ve ever wanted to do is forget about it. And there’s so much at risk telling him the truth. “South London still. About ten miles away from here. It was New Year. We had a party like we always did, and it was the millennium, so everyone was there.” The family had been there, as always, even old Auntie Peg and her farting Pekinese. But this time Dad had invited the whole street to see in the new century. “We had the telly on and heard Big Ben.” My dad insisted on seeing in the New Year with the chimes of Big Ben, just as he forced us to endure the Queen’s speech every Christmas Day.

“Then what?”

“We were hugging and kissing. Everyone was at it.” I’d already been kissed by my parents and all the aunties and uncles, even old Tom down the road had pulled me into a hug so hard I’d had the breath knocked out of me. “Then Steve kissed me.”

“Steve was your boyfriend?”

“Yeah. My mum and dad thought he was my best mate. He was my best mate, but he was more than that.”

“Did you love him?” I hear the jealousy in his voice. I see it in his eyes. This is the first time he’s tripped over my past, my ex-lovers. My past is just that—in the past and forgotten. I wish to God I’d remembered that before I’d told him the truth.

“I thought I did at the time. Now, I dunno. We were kids.” Of course I’d loved him, with all the innocence and naiveté that a sixteen-year-old possesses.

“So you kissed him in the excitement and your dad saw?”

It hadn’t been quite like that. We’d wished each other a happy new century along with everyone else, and then he’d caught my eye, and we sneaked out into the back where it was dark and quiet. He’d pushed me against the wall and kissed me, saying everyone deserved a special kiss. Even at sixteen, Steve had known what to do with his mouth to make me horny.

“Something like that,” I agree.

“Then what happened?”

“It was just my luck Dad came out for more beer and caught us kissing. He went ballistic, yelling he didn’t want a homo for a son, and then he threw me and Steve out of the house.” I can see the pity in his eyes and I hate it, hate it. “Don’t look at me like that. I’m not a charity case.”

He strokes my face with his long fingers, and if I hadn’t been so pissed off, I would have purred. “I never said you were.”

“You were thinking it, though.”

“Maybe a little. What did you do then?”

“We went back to Steve’s.” I remember the shock I felt as we walked down the street, the numbness in my mind as I tried to get my head around what had just happened.

“At least you had somewhere to go.”

I nod. I had—for a while. We’d let ourselves into his empty house—his parents had gone away, which was why he’d been staying with me—and he’d bathed my eye, trying to staunch the blood. In addition to chucking me out, Dad had given me a parting present of a black eye and a split lip.

Unwittingly, he’s tracing a tiny scar on my cheek where Dad hit me. “Did you stay there after that or did you have family you could go to?”

I shake my head. “None of them wanted anything to do with me once my dad spread the news. They all told me they didn’t want a queer in their house. I stayed with Steve for a bit, but his parents didn’t want any trouble. They were having a hard enough time finding out their son was gay.”

“So what did you do?”

I look away, not wanting to tell him the truth. Not wanting to admit the shame in my past.
He grips my chin firmly and forces me to look at him. “David, what happened next?”

“I got taken to a halfway home and then I lived rough for a while.”

“How long? How long’s ‘a while’?”

“Over three years.”

“Jeez.” He lets out a shaky breath, and I can see his eyes glistening in the dim light of the lamp.

That’s it. I’ve had enough. I clamber off his lap and head for the bathroom, giving the pretense of needing a piss. Thankfully he doesn’t follow me, and I spend the time staring in the mirror, seeing the frightened little boy I’d been then rather than the man I’ve become. When I get back he’s staring at his hands. He looks up as I come back into the room, and gives me a wan smile.

“Why have you never told me this before? I’ve known you for over eight years. Why have you never told me about your past?”

“You never asked.”

“Don’t give me that. You know I did. I’ve asked you over and over what happened to you, but you never said, and Mary wouldn’t tell me.”

I smile at that. Mary wouldn’t. She’s very protective of her kids, even years after they leave her. Really, no one leaves Mary. I’ve got to know most of her charges, past and present.

He sees my smile and snaps, “It’s not funny, David.”

My smile fades. “I know it’s not funny, but what do you expect me to say?” I hang back by the door, unwilling to face his anger. This was my life, dammit, not his. What the hell right did he have to be angry?

He stares at me. “I met you when you were twenty. Why did you never tell me about your life? All those times I asked and you’d only just got off the streets?”

“Babe, I wanted to forget that boy ever existed. I still do.” That’s not me—even if I did just catch a little glimpse of Danny in the mirror.

I can see from his frown he doesn’t really understand. Taking a deep breath, I sit down beside him and hold his hand. Maybe now is the time to tell my story. Not all of it, of course. There are things I can never tell him. The things I had to do to eat, to survive. It’s a miracle I’m alive and not dead in some alleyway with a needle stuck in my arm. I didn’t contract HIV or the clap. I survived, and I can show him that. I’m not a victim and the sky isn’t dead.


Author Bio 

Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot, and has gotten expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favourite television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.

Sue can be found at her website,; her blog,; Twitter,; and her Facebook,


J.P. Barnaby – The Life of an Escort Part 1 (NSFW)

The Life of an Escort

Part One: Dinner with a Gentleman

By J. P. Barnaby


“Simon, it’s good to see you again,” Mr. Chauncey greeted me as I came down the porch from my third floor walk-up. His silver BMW gleamed from its place next to the curb, and I smiled at him. Always smiling. It didn’t matter that another lover had just walked out on me because I refused to cash in one of my investments to go with him to the Caribbean. You work too hard, he’d complained, you never have time for me. I could see his point, but what Jeremy never understood was that I only had maybe three more good years left. After that, I could cash out and open up a spa. I had a plan, one that he didn’t want to be a part of. I just wish he’d have told me that six months ago and saved me the headache.

“It’s good to see you too, David,” I told Mr. Chauncey as he took my hand and pumped it vigorously. David and I have had a standing appointment on the last Friday of every month for a year. The evenings all went the same way: picked up in his silver beamer, whisked off to a fabulous dinner, interesting conversation, and a quiet kiss goodnight. He paid generously for my time and my conversation, never asking for anything more. I loved these evenings with him where I could almost be myself.

David’s sweet kindness warmed me and I surprised us both as I leaned forward and kissed him lightly. The chaste kiss made him smile and he touched my cheek before he took my hand and led me to the car. As always, he held the door open for me, and while some men might feel emasculated by the gesture, I found it charming. David’s consistent respect for me was always a welcome change from the men who wanted a rented boy to degrade.

“I was thinking of something different for tonight, if you’re interested,” David said suddenly as he slipped his key into the ignition. “Something a little spicier…” I looked at him, wondering if he finally wanted to take our agreement to a different place. The heat in his eyes made me think maybe he was ready, but his posture still looked tense.

“I like spicy,” I whispered and leaned a bit closer. He rested a hand on my leg and smiled.

“Good, I thought maybe we could try the Hanging Dragon. It’s a new Chinese place over on Wells,” he said casually. Oh, he meant food. I wasn’t sure how I could have misread that, but I settled back in the passenger seat and put on my seat belt. Neither of us mentioned anything about adding a little spice to our agreement as we drove toward the restaurant in the Gold Coast.

The atmosphere changed again when the host seated us in a booth and David rubbed his foot against mine under the table. He never openly acknowledged the gesture, so I couldn’t be sure that the soft touches were intentional. I wanted to touch his hand in the same intimate way, but our relationship had never been one of open affection. David was a very handsome, masculine man in just the way that I liked. I’m sure sex with him would have been a joy, but he’d only ever been interested in my company, not my body.

At one point after the server brought the dumplings, which I love, I may have closed my eyes and moaned at the taste of them. Nothing beats a perfectly prepared Chinese dumpling dipped in a sinful sauce. I thought, when my eyes opened again, I saw David adjust himself under the table. The tables were tall, and the lights were dim, so it may have just been wishful thinking on my part because his calm demeanor never changed. I may also have imagined the higher temperature in the room when our eyes met, or it could have been the heat of the food.

Our conversations ranged from books to movies to the latest commentary on the social political climate for our LGBT community. David was only in the closet in theory. He didn’t advertise his sexuality, but he didn’t hide me when we went out. I’d never asked him why he continued to have dinner with me every month when he could have a meaningful relationship with someone else. Someone, who, I’m sure, would not understand our standing date.

“I missed this,” David said suddenly as he pulled out his credit card. Sliding it into the little plastic sheath with the bill to pay for dinner, he sighed quietly and looked up.

“Missed, what?” I asked, cautious because I’d misread the spicy comment earlier.

“Missed conversation with an intelligent man, missed a relaxing dinner with someone I liked being with, and I missed getting out and having a good time. Things have been really busy at my office lately, and it’s been a lot of late nights with some truly boring people.” David smiled, and handed the bill to our server who disappeared quietly. Oh. Why did I hope that he missed me?

“Well, I’m glad that you’re having a good time,” I responded quietly. The server returned with his receipt and put our odd little discussion on hold.

David was quiet as he drove me back to my apartment. It seemed he had something on his mind, but I didn’t want to push my luck and ask him what it was. I glanced over at him several times during the fifteen-minute drive, but he concentrated on the road and didn’t look back at me. I felt like a teenage girl waiting for her date to acknowledge her.

When we arrived at my building, he merely put the car into park and didn’t say anything for several minutes. The rush of traffic outside the car seemed to be the only sound in the world as I waited for him to explain whatever was on his mind. He took his hands off the wheel. While one rested lightly in his lap, the other rested on the narrow piece of plastic in front of the driver’s side window. A slight movement caught my attention and I saw him adjust himself. Had he been hard the whole ride back?

“David?” I asked, finally breaking the silence in the car. When he turned to me, his expression was sheepish, almost guilty. He looked like a child caught doing something naughty. “Can I give you a little help with that?”

“I…Well, I just…I’ve been busy and haven’t…” His blush nearly glowed in the dim light and I smiled at him, I couldn’t help it. With all of the things I saw and put up with as an escort, his shyness delighted me. Leaning over, I rested my upper body on the console so that my head lay on his shoulder and my fingers ghosted toward his lap.

“Relax, let me make you feel good,” I whispered against his skin as I kissed his jaw. The tension in his muscles eased a bit and he scooted down in the leather seat. I started by pulling his button down shirt out from where he’d tucked it into his dress pants. The undershirt came next before I slid my palm up his flat stomach. The coarse hair on his abdomen tickled my hand as I caressed him. A soft sigh escaped his lips just as they captured mine in a surprisingly sweet kiss.

A quiet moan reverberated against my lips when I rubbed one of his nipples, already hardening in the cool night air. Taking it between my thumb and forefinger, I rolled it, feeling it pebble further under my touch.

“Simon, God…that’s nice,” David whispered to the dark. Of course, Simon wasn’t my name and for a moment, I longed to hear him say “Zach” instead, but David didn’t know Zach. I leaned over, pulling his shirt higher and captured his other nipple between my lips. His back arched and he pushed his chest forward eagerly. I took the opportunity to open his belt and then his pants. Sliding my hand down into his open fly, I stroked him through soft cotton briefs. A wet spot, about the size of a quarter, had already formed where the material touched the head of his stiff cock.

I loved the little whimpers he couldn’t quite contain.

He spread his legs further and lifted up in the seat so that I could loosen the taut pants and rub lower. Gently, I ran my fingers over his balls and felt the texture of his coarse hair against the material of the briefs. His breathing accelerated and he moved his hips subtly in time with my hand, almost as if it were an unconscious need.

“Oh…” The sound was no more than a whisper, but it made my cock throb. Discretely, I brought my right hand up to my mouth and spit into it before sliding it into his briefs. David must not have had this kind of companionship for a while because the moment I wrapped my fingers around his dick, he thrust into my slick grip. Catching his eye, I leaned forward and kissed him as I stroked the thick cock filling my hand. It surprised me to realize that I wanted to crawl onto him and ride him right there in the car. Usually, I had more discretion, more control.

David broke the kiss, panting against my lips as a street sweeper passed the car with a loud grinding reminding me where we were. Sitting in the front seat of his car on a busy street making out like teenagers, anyone could walk by and see us. I stroked him faster, twisting my hand lightly over the head as he pressed is temple to mine. I could tell that he tried to keep his hips still by the way he stopped moving every few minutes and pressed his ass against the seat.

All at once, his head fell back against the seat and the thrust hard up into my hand as his cock erupted over my fingers and the front of his neatly pressed shirt. The leather seat creaked under the strain of his grip and a strangled groan tore through the small space. His eyes were closed tight, as if his entire being were focused on his orgasm, which lasted a surprisingly long time. When his eyes opened, David cradled my cheek in his palm and kissed me. The way his lips lingered, slowly tasting me, warmed me in a way I hadn’t felt in quite some time.

Then, he leaned past me and opened the glove box near my knees. Handing me a few fast food napkins, he started to clean himself up the best he could. The magic of the moment had ended, and we had other things to contend with.

“Thank you for a wonderful evening, Simon,” David said quietly as he counted bills from his wallet. As I watched distractedly, I started to notice that he counted out a few too many. It finally dawned on me that he was giving me a tip for services rendered. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I got him off because I wanted to, not for a bit of extra cash.

For the first time in a long time, I had to remind myself who and what I was as I took the cash and climbed out of his warm car for the cold bed waiting for me in my apartment.



Award winning romance novelist, J. P. Barnaby has penned over a dozen books including the Forbidden Room series, the Little Boy Lost series, and Aaron. As a bisexual woman, J.P. is a proud member of the GLBT community both online and in her small town on the outskirts of Chicago. A member of Mensa, she is described as brilliant but troubled, sweet but introverted, and talented but deviant. She spends her days writing software and her nights writing erotica, which is, of course, far more interesting. The spare time that she carves out between her career and her novels is spent reading about the concept of love, which, like some of her characters, she has never quite figured out for herself.


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Guest Author: Grace R Duncan – Chatting Choices and Reviews

ChoicesLGWhen I originally set out to write Choices, I honestly had no idea the monster it would become.  The idea started out as an AU fanfiction of the Naruto world.  It was to be the first alternate world (as opposed to alternate reality of Naruto) of my own making.

But as I was talking to the wonderful A.F. Henley about the concept behind Choices, he told me that it sounded like an amazing world and then he challenged me to write an original story, instead.  I don’t think he had any idea just what he unleashed.

Choices grew quickly.  From a short AU fanfic to a short story to a novel.  Then, as the novel progressed, I found myself fascinated not only with the main characters, but also with a number of the secondary characters.  They began to worm their way into my head and heart and demand their own stories.  I pushed it off, convinced for the longest time that this was going to be a single, standalone novel and that was that.

Well, Cyrus and Nadir wouldn’t stand for that.  Neither, apparently, would Darius and Salehi.  And before I knew what hit me, I was making notes on not one, but two more novels in this world.

I managed to make that be enough for the time being and put my effort into finishing Choices.  That novel took me a long time to write.  I started it before NaNoWriMo of 2011.  During NaNo, I managed another 55,000 words and then sometime between January and April, I finished it.  It ate up some 182,000 words, initially.  I stared at that number for a long time, shocked that I’d written so much in one story.

Mind you, novel-length stories aren’t anything new for me. I’ve been writing novel-length fanfiction for quite a long time.  The first story was put up on sometime in late 2008/early 2009.  Okay, four-ish years might not seem like a lot for most folks, but it is for me.  Before that, the most I’d written was bits and pieces of original fiction, short stories, poetry and the like, but not in a very long time— like, more than a decade, long.

But seeing myself finish a novel-length original story was an amazing accomplishment for me.  I owe a lot to my husband and my beta, who were both amazing cheerleaders for me and helped encourage me to finish.

Because I was terrified.  Of putting myself out there, of the rejection I was sure I’d get from the publishers I’d submit to.  I’d decided that even if it got turned down, I’d still put it out there on the web as original fiction, at least, for my friends to read.  And I was even scared to death of that – of the reviews I knew I’d get.

Reviews are both a bane and a balm to authors.  There isn’t a book out there that is unilaterally liked.  Every book ever published gets critical reviews as much as they get good ones.  The good ones help motivate us, keep us going, help us to get through that next book.

The bad ones… can stop us in our writing tracks.  Sometimes for days… weeks.  Even months.

I am not new to bad reviews.  I’ve had my share of them over the fanfiction I’ve written.  Something about the anonymity of the internet give a lot of folks insulation and the feeling that since it is the internet, they can say whatever they want.  But there are still real people on the other end of that screen, real people who put their hearts and souls into that story and when bad reviews come back, it is heartbreaking. I should be clear, here.  I’m not talking about reviews with good, constructive criticism here, ones that talk about character problems or plot holes.  I’m talking about reviews that shred the author for the sake of being nasty.  And we’ve all received them.

Despite the fact that I have received my share of bad reviews for fanfiction – and one such review once had me unable to write for over two months – despite having received them, I have found that reviews of my original work are even harder to take.  I can’t explain it; it doesn’t make sense.  But they hurt, much more than any of the mean-spirited reviews I’ve taken over my fanfiction.

As I sat down to work on Deception — my next book— I have found myself blocked on more than one occasion.  I’ve been told over and over again to not even read the reviews, much less let them bother me.  But it is easier said than done.

The most common thing I’ve heard so far is that Choices has too much sex.  It was intended to be a sexy erotica novel.  The sex is integral to the story and the plot is woven through it.  You can’t separate them.  And I was (and still am, if I let myself be) proud of that book.  In a lot of ways – not just because it was my first novel and the first original story like that that I finished.

See… I like sex. I like to read about it and I like to write about it.  I love BDSM and I love good stories about BDSM that handle it right.  So when I set out to write Choices, I wrote something that I would have wanted to read.

Well, I got warned that it might be too much, but I sent it off and Dreamspinner liked it.  They wanted to publish it.  The edits came back and my wonderfully patient content reviewer warned me about the sexual content (not the type of sex, the amount).  We cut and moved. We revised and rewrote and we both were happy with what was left. It was still a lot, but a lot less.

And still, the most common comment I hear is… too much sex.

The problem that comes with that is that Deception is the same type of book.  It, too, is erotica.  It follows Cyrus and Nadir of Choices, two other pleasure slaves.  This is, in fact, what they are.  And when I let those reviews get to me, I start to realize how hard it is to keep writing what Deception should be – and erotica novel with sex that is inseparable from the plot.

But thanks to some very wise words from a couple of close friends of mine, I realize that I still like Deception. I still like the type of book it is and others will, too.  There are quite a few people already looking forward to it.  And it is on these readers that I should be focusing – the ones that I know like Choices and want more.

Well, they’ll get more.  After I finish Deception, I have plans for not one, but possibly up to three more stories.   I mentioned before that this world didn’t want to let go of me.  The characters have become such a part of me, so many of them want my attention.  Two of Teman’s clansmen – Hamid and Isam – have insisted that they want their story told.  And then there is an even more minor character, a serving boy in Bathasar’s chambers by the name of Ghalib who may even get his own.

Will they all be the same level of erotica? I don’t know. That remains to be seen.  Those stories will tell themselves, like Deception is doing now.

It’s not up to me to fight it.  It’s not for me to question it, despite what the reviews say.

It’s just up to me to tell the story that needs to be told.


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Thank you so much to Charlie for hosting me today! It is an honor to spend time in the Teahouse!

Please be sure to leave a comment below! Do you write? Have you ever received reviews? How did they affect you?  Do you leave reviews? What is your philosophy on them?  Leave your opinion for a chance to win a bag of swag and be entered to win a signed paperback copy of Choices! Thanks for reading!

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Choices Blurb:

Born and raised a gypsy in the late eleventh century, Teman values freedom over everything. He and his best friend, Jasim, are thieves for hire—until one night they’re caught and their precious freedom is revoked. Given the choice between the dungeons or palace pleasure slavery, they become slaves, but Teman vows to escape someday.

Bathasar doesn’t want the throne. He supports his brother instead, which suits their sadistic father, Mukesh. When Teman, the handsome slave Bathasar has secretly been watching, saves his life, Bathasar requests a slave for the first time. Before long, Bathasar and Teman fall in love. But all is not well. One day Mukesh brutalizes Teman before the court, angering the empress of a neighboring nation. To appease her, he then offers her Jasim as a gift, and Teman decides to stay with Bathasar for now—despite the abuse he may suffer.

The peace doesn’t last. Mukesh plans to invade Jasim’s new country, and Bathasar must find a way to stop the destruction. But if he succeeds, he’ll ascend to the throne and have the power to grant Teman his liberty. Then Teman will surely leave him. What other choice could a gypsy make?

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Where to find Grace: