Hello and welcome to the Seductive Studs blog hop! This week I’m celebrating the nomination of Blood of Salar by LR Cafe for Best Fantasy/Steampunk romance in 2015. Blood of Salar is the second book in the Masters and Mages series, but it can be read as a stand alone. This excerpt is from the first chapter, when M’lan and Jamil are reunited after a long separation. M’lan has been taking an early morning dip in one of the hot pools surrounding the temple where he is headmaster.
M’lan emerged dripping and retrieved his clothes from the burn bush he’d draped them over. When he pressed the cloth to his face to wipe the water from his eyes, all the fine hair on his bare skin stood on end. He sensed a presence, and it was not Amara.
He took a step forward to flee via the pool, but iron fingers gripped both his arms and pulled him back.
“Your senses are improving,” Jamil whispered in his ear. “You actually detected me before I touched you.”
M’lan shuddered as relief and anger rolled through him in alternating waves. He gritted his teeth against an onslaught of curses that leaped to his tongue. When his heartbeat softened, he said as calmly as possible, “You…startled me.”
“Good. Maybe you’ll act more sensibly.” Jamil enfolded M’lan in his arms, and his warm, rich voice tickled M’lan’s ear. “Lolling about nude, alone, while rebel troops swarm around the mountain in droves. My god, M’lan, even someone more honorable and upright than myself would be tempted by the sight of you.” Jamil continued to crush him against his broad chest, and M’lan struggled halfheartedly to escape, still angry at being taken by surprise. He knew he was angrier with himself than Jamil.
M’lan, headmaster of the order of Ka’alar and Jamil Jarka, king’s assassin, find their impossible love challenged to the utmost as a rebellion sweeps them apart, sending Jamil on a dangerous mission to assassinate the rebel leader, General Charvat. Unknown to anyone, Charvat is on his way to the temple to exploit the headmaster’s magical abilities.
When the rebel army arrives, M’lan is thrust into a struggle against political and sexual dominance as Charvat attempts to break his resistance. Violence and death mount, awakening within M’lan both the powers of destruction and the desire for revenge.
On the trail of his prey, Jamil begins to question his devotion to M’lan as his once innocent lover transforms into a mage and invades the assassin’s thoughts and dreams. The closer Jamil draws to M’lan, the more he puts his life and his very soul at risk. Jamil soon realizes that his lover might prove to be more deadly than the man he was sent to kill.
A final confrontation between assassin and monk might destroy them both, but Jamil is relentless in his determination to rescue M’lan, for he knows that only his love can master the mage.
Don’t forget to continue the hop at the Seductive Studs home page. Lots of steamy m/m goodness goin’ on.