My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
I downloaded this short story when it was offered free on Amazon.
Brendan is a mercenary who has a habit of picking up beautiful but useless things. When he lays eyes on Lorne at a slave market, he pays far more coin than he considers the young man to be worth. Lorne is a member of a deposed royal family who isn’t sure if he wants to seduce Brendan or kill him, but they’re both about to find out as they head to Brendan’s hometown.
I wasn’t very keen on this short when I started. The kind of slave stories I like are usually the ones where the slave finds solace in the hands of a gentle master who sets him free (or at least treats him well). Brendan makes no judgements on the keeping of slaves and in fact treats Lorne very cruelly at first, whipping him for disobedience. Lorne, for his part, tries to cut Brendan’s throat. I wasn’t sure how this could become a love story at all. I found the initial brutality to be a turn-off for me.
However, the two do warm to one another and the story did grow on me. Eventually Brendan starts to treat Lorne with care, chasing after him and killing several men to keep him safe. I was glad that Brendan started to see Lorne’s value as a human being. Lorne in turn seems to enjoy having Brendan as his Master. I could have used a little more time for their feelings to grow from the brutal to the intimate stage but all in all, it wasn’t a bad short.
There were a couple of bad typos that needed fixing, for example: “suddenly a shadow blocked his few”, but it was a competent enough story. I’m not sure I’d pay the $2.99 asking price for something quite this short, however.