Contest, interview with a Merman, and NSFW excerpt from “Stealing the Wind”

StealingTheWindFSToday my very special guest is Taren Laxley, a pirate with a secret: he’s a merman.  Be sure to comment on this post to be entered to win one of several prizes:   a Stealing the Wind t-shirt, a Stealing the Wind ceramic mug, and an ebook of your choice of my Dreamspinner Press releases (not including Stealing the Wind).  Contest ends midnight, September 8th!

Stealing the Wind is Taren’s story.  And what a story!  A slave who is sold from his relatively comfortable life as a rigger in Raice Harbor into a far less comfortable life in a harbor inn.  One night, Taren meets the pirate captain Jonat Rider, and begins his initiation into the world of sex and pleasure.  Rider kidnaps Taren and offers him his freedom in return for three years of servitude.  Taren, who finds the captain and his first mate, Bastian, very tempting partners, agrees.  But when, two years later, Taren is lost at sea and picked up by a rival ship, the Phantom, Taren’s life changes overnight.  You see, the pirate ship’s crew hold a secret: they are mermen shifters, men who can transform into mermen.  Even more surprising?  Taren is one of them.photo

Stealing the Wind is high romance and high adventure on the high seas.  Taren and Ian Dunaidh, captain of the merfolk ship Phantom, are inexplicably attracted to each other.  Captor and captive become far more, and the adventure of Taren’s life begins in Book One of the Mermen of Ea Series.  Want to read more about the book?  Click here.

So without further ado, please welcome Taren Laxley!

Shira:  How are you, Taren?

Taren: *eyes me warily* I’ve heard about this magic.  Ian said you brought him to your world to ask him questions on someone named MA Church’s blog.  Are you one of the island faction?

Shira:  Island faction?

Taren:  Those merfolk who do not believe humans and merfolk should live together.  Led by the Council and a beast named Seria.

Shira:  No.  But maybe we should start there.  Why do the islanders believe merfolk and humans should live apart?

Taren:  Hundreds of years ago, the humans nearly exterminated us.  They were looking for something.  A weapon.

Shira:  What kind of weapon?

Taren:  I don’t know.  All records of that time were lost when our ancestors fled the humans.  But it’s said to be a powerful one.

Shira:  Tell me a little about Ian, the captain of your ship, Phantom.

Taren: *frowns*  What about him?

Shira:  Aren’t you two… ah… a couple?

Taren:  I’d rather not talk about it.

Shira:  Things aren’t going so well between you?

Taren:  If throwing me into the islanders’ prison is going well, as you put it, then I suppose things are just perfect.

Shira:  Oh.  So maybe a happier topic, then?

Taren:  *crosses arms over his chest and glares at me*

Shira:  Tell me about Bastian.

Taren:  Bastian is the first mate aboard the Sea Witch, the ship I served on until just a few weeks ago.

Shira:  I hear you and he and the ship’s captain… er… share quarters.

Taren:  *raises an eyebrow*  Why not just say it?  There’s no shame in pleasure.  I share Captain Rider’s bed, as does Bastian.  But I am just their slave.

Shira:  I see.  *blushes*

Taren:  *laughs*

Shira:  Moving on… Tell us about merfolk.  How does it feel to shift into your Ea form?

Taren:  The transformation is painful, but the feeling of being under the water… breathing… swimming… is quite powerful.  I can’t imagine anything more pleasurable, except perhaps the act of lovemaking.  *pauses*  Your cheeks are red.  Does this embarrass you, perhaps?

Shira:  I wrote you.

Taren:  Aye.  *smirks*  But sometimes your characters get the better of you, don’t they?

Shira:  And on that note, we’ll send Taren back to the prison.  *waves hand and Taren vanishes*  One of the advantages of being a writer–controlling mouthy characters.  *grins*

Want to enter the giveaway contest?  Just comment below.  Want to read more about Stealing the Wind?  Here’s the blurb and the links where you can purchase the book in ebook or paperback formats! -Shira

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Stealing the Wind, by Shira Anthony

Mermen of Ea: Book One

Taren Laxley has never known anything but life as a slave. When a lusty pirate kidnaps him and holds him prisoner on his ship, Taren embraces the chance to realize his dream of a seagoing life. Not only does the pirate captain offer him freedom in exchange for three years of labor and sexual servitude, but the pleasures Taren finds when he joins the captain and first mate in bed far surpass his greatest fantasies.

Then, during a storm, Taren dives overboard to save another sailor and is lost at sea. He’s rescued by Ian Dunaidh, the enigmatic and seemingly ageless captain of a rival ship, the Phantom, and Taren feels an overwhelming attraction to Ian that Ian appears to share. Soon Taren learns a secret that will change his life forever: Ian and his people are Ea, shape-shifting merfolk… and Taren is one of them too. Bound to each other by a fierce passion neither can explain or deny, Taren and Ian are soon embroiled in a war and forced to fight for a future—not only for themselves but for all their kind.

Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4101&cPath=55_484

AllRomanceEbooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-stealingthewind-1267623-145.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EHHZXVS/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb

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How about a steamy excerpt so you can see why Taren had me blushing?  This is from the second chapter of the story:

Taren woke to see Captain Rider lighting the oil lamps that hung from the rafters about the cabin. The sun had already set, but the lamplight cast a warm glow about the room. “Now that’s a sight for sore eyes.” His rumbling voice warmed Taren, as did his eyes as they took in Taren’s naked body. “Makes me wish I hadn’t left you alone for so long.”

Taren swallowed hard and did his best to school his expression. He silently wished he had gone back to the bedroom. At least there, he might hide his nakedness beneath the sheets. He feared the captain’s hungry gaze as much as he craved it.

No doubt Rider sensed Taren’s fear, because he asked, “Do I frighten you, Taren?”

“I… I… yes, I suppose you do.” Taren hadn’t planned to admit this, but something in Rider’s expression told him he’d not suffer for speaking the truth.

Rider smiled. “No need. I’ll not be hurting you unless you disobey me.”

“What do you want from me?” Taren knew he was in no position to ask the captain anything, but he couldn’t help himself.

Rider only chuckled. “They said you speak your mind,” he said. “I daresay they were right. So what is it you do?”

“Sir?”

“Do you read and write?”

“Yes, sir.” Taren had never thought much of it. He knew the other servants at the inn could do neither, but his master there had never taken advantage of his skills.

“Anything else?”

“I can rig a ship,” Taren said with pride.

“Indeed?” This appeared to surprise the captain.

“If you give me my clothes,” Taren continued, “I can help out on deck.”

This time Rider’s laugh was deep and throaty. “In time, perhaps. For now, the ropes are well manned and none are in need of immediate repair. My plans for you are far more… urgent.”

Taren inwardly cursed himself as his cheeks grew hot once again. He was even more embarrassed when his cock also responded to Rider’s words.

“Stand up.”

Taren hesitated, afraid to let Rider see his traitorous erection.

“I said ‘stand up’, boy. You’ll not be making trouble so quickly with me, will you?” Rider wore a stern expression, but Taren thought he saw a spark of amusement in Rider’s eyes.

Taren did as he was told.

Rider’s expression was inscrutable. He neither smiled nor laughed, nor did he look at Taren with disgust. “There is no shame in your desire,” he said after a moment.

“But I’m a man.”

Taren immediately regretted having spoken so quickly. “One of these days, boy,” Borstan had admonished on many an occasion, “I’ll whip you for that lip.” The old man never had whipped him, and for that Taren had been grateful.

“Aye. That you are. And a fine man, at that.”

“But—”

“Who were your parents, boy? Are they why you fear the touch of another man?”

“I never knew my parents. Borstan Laxley took me in as a baby. Fed me, clothed me, taught me to read and write, and gave me my name.”

“And the old fool sold you.” Rider shook his head. “What faith do you put in the morals of such a man?”

“I was his property. What choice did I have but to put my faith in—”

Rider frowned and wrinkled his weathered brow. “A slave is free to choose in whom to place his trust, even if his body belongs to his master. A good man will not mistreat a slave or sell him to pay for his own stupidity.”

Taren looked at the floor, unsure what to say. He had little reason to believe Rider’s words—he’d never known a master such as the one Rider described—and yet for the first time since Borstan had sold him to the inn, he began to hope for more.

“You will be treated well here, Taren Laxley. If you obey me, I will care for you, feed you, and clothe you. You will pay me with three years of your life, and then your freedom is your own. If you choose to leave after that, I will not stop you.”

Taren opened his mouth in shock. Three years and he’d have his freedom? He could barely believe it. He’d lived his entire life knowing he would be an old man before he’d be able to pay off his indenture. He was nothing more than a slave. And yet this man—this pirate—was offering him freedom in return for three years of his life?

“You would set me free, if I choose it?”

“Yes. I would. If you choose to leave.” Rider studied Taren with a look of patient understanding.

“And if I refuse you?”

“If you refuse, I’ll return you to the inn.”

Taren guessed Rider was lying, but he didn’t want to find out. What were three more years of servitude compared to his freedom? And would it be so terrible if the pirate used his body for pleasure instead of putting him to work on deck? His face grew warm at the thought of such service.

“I will submit to you. I won’t fight you.”

At this, Rider laughed and shook his head. “I told you, boy, I’ll treat you well. But I’ll not have your submission without your soul. Tell me what you want. If you wish me to touch you, you must say it.”

Taren released a slow breath. His body had long ago betrayed him, but he instinctively understood that Rider wanted him to speak the words. He also needed to say them for himself.

“I… I wish for you to touch me. I want you to touch me, as you did before.”

A gentle smile lit Rider’s face. “Come, then.” Taren’s heart pounded against his ribs as Rider offered him his calloused hand.

“Where are we going?”

“You’re not going to sleep out here tonight, are you? The floor is mighty cold.”

Does he mean for me to sleep in his bed? The thought both thrilled and terrified Taren.

Rider led Taren through the doorway to the bedroom and back to the curtained bed, next to which a small oil lamp provided a warm orange light. Pulling back the drapes, Rider said, “Climb inside.”

The bed was not empty. Taren guessed its current occupant was a few years older than he: a beautiful young man with shoulder-length red hair that reminded Taren of the sunset. His eyes were a bright green, his face dotted with freckles. He was completely naked and stretched out on the sheets like an exotic cat, every inch of his skin visible in the lamplight. Taren could not force himself to look away. Had he stolen into the bedroom while Taren slept? Had he seen Taren naked? The thought secretly thrilled him.

“This is Bastian,” Rider said with a smirk, no doubt guessing at Taren’s desire.

Without warning, Bastian reached for Taren and pulled him onto the bed. He wrapped his arms around Taren’s waist and kissed him, his tongue snaking its way into Taren’s mouth and exploring it with eagerness.

Taren grew dizzy with the contact. The heat of their bodies pressed together felt like a wonderful revelation.  Bastian held Taren spellbound by the feel of his skin against Taren’s own. Taren had never kissed anyone like this, even the girls who had offered themselves to him. He moaned as he felt Bastian’s hard cock against his own.

Taren gasped as the kiss broke. He wanted more but wasn’t sure if he should ask for it.

“You were right,” Bastian said as he slid lithe fingers over Taren’s smooth chest. “He’s perfect.”

“It was Bastian’s idea to bring another man into our bed,” Rider explained to the still speechless Taren. Taren knew he’d betrayed his surprise, because Rider laughed. “Bastian is not a slave, Taren.”

“He’s not? But—”

“He was once my slave, but he is now master of my heart and my body.” Rider glanced at Bastian with a look of pure lust and obvious affection. “He is also the Sea Witch’s quartermaster.”

Quartermaster?” Taren knew enough of pirate ships to understand that the quartermaster was nearly as powerful as the captain aboard a ship. It was the quartermaster, not the captain, who maintained peace amongst the crew.

“I gave him his freedom, just as I promised you yours. He chose to stay and I rewarded his loyalty. He is also a fine crew member. The other men obey him as they would me.”

“Oh.” Taren wasn’t sure which of Rider’s revelations surprised him more—that Bastian had chosen to stay aboard the ship when given his freedom, or that the ship’s quartermaster willingly and gladly shared the captain’s bed. And they want me to join them?

“You will watch and learn,” Rider said, bringing Taren back to the here and now, “If you wish, you may join us, but I will not rush you.” He winked at Bastian before adding, “Not yet, at least.” He pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it onto the floor, then waited patiently as Bastian crawled over Taren and began to unfasten the large buckle on Rider’s belt.

Taren’s erection, which had begun to soften, reasserted itself as Bastian pulled Rider’s trousers down to reveal a substantial cock, thick and hard. Taren had never seen anything as large, not amongst the other servants or even the guests at the inn when he had bathed them. Heavily veined, its tip broad and smooth, it both frightened Taren to behold and held great interest for him. He imagined how he might take it between his hands and how Rider’s balls, now hidden in shadow, might feel as he rolled them about with his fingers.

Rider, noticing Taren’s unabashed stare, caught Bastian’s gaze and murmured, “Show him how it’s done, love.”

Bastian laughed and wet his lips as he watched Taren intently. Taren realized he too was licking his lips in anticipation—that he wanted to taste Bastian’s seductive mouth again and explore Bastian’s sleek body.

Bastian took Rider’s cock into his mouth, swallowing him down so deeply that his nose brushed the curls at the base. Slowly, deliberately, he released Rider’s cock, then sucked it down again, repeating the movement with obvious relish. Bastian sucked and moaned as though Rider’s cock were the most heavenly of delicacies.

Rider slid his thick fingers through Bastian’s silken hair, pulling on it until Bastian cried out. At first Taren feared Rider had hurt Bastian, but the corners of Bastian’s mouth as they turned upward and the light in his eyes told Taren otherwise.

“Come closer and touch yourself,” Rider commanded Taren. “I know you want to.”

Taren swallowed his fear before doing as he was bidden.  He moved beside Bastian on the edge of the bed, then took his cock in his hand and fisted it as he often had when he thought no one would see. The sensations he had felt in the darkness of the tavern’s sleeping quarters were nothing compared to this. He mimicked Bastian’s movements, matching the rhythm of his hand to Bastian’s sucking. He imagined Bastian’s mouth on him, imagined the softness of Bastian’s hair, and watched Rider watching him with obvious desire.

It took only a moment before he came with a stifled cry. He spilled onto his hand and splashed the sheets. Ashamed at his lack of control, he looked away, only to feel Rider’s hand on his shoulder.

“You’re young. There will be time for more later, if you wish it.”

From his position at Bastian’s side, Taren watched Bastian roll Rider’s sac in his hand as he continued to suck. From time to time, Bastian released Rider’s erection and licked the puckered skin of his balls, wetting it until it glistened. Taren’s cock swelled again as Bastian ran his teeth over Rider’s hard member, teasing and nipping at the edge of the swollen tip. Taren imagined the feel of Bastian’s mouth on his body, biting at him, taking him deep inside.

“You may touch him if you want,” Rider told Taren as Taren watched the smooth, honeyed skin of Bastian’s back.

For all that he was beginning to believe Rider’s promises, Taren could not immediately comprehend what the captain had offered. Why would he, my master, invite me to pleasure myself?

“Go on, boy. Touch him.” Then, as if understanding Taren’s hesitation, he added, “Do you not understand that seeing your pleasure increases my own?” With a shaking hand, Taren touch Bastian’s skin. It was as soft as he’d imagined it would be—softer, even—and he explored the smooth surface of it with reverent awe.

“May I… taste him?” Taren asked.

Rider nodded his approval, so Taren leaned over and kissed Bastian’s back, then licked it. Bastian tasted slightly salty, warm to the touch, enticing. Taren pressed the pads of his fingers into Bastian’s shoulder blades, transfixed to see the muscles move beneath the silky skin. Tentatively at first, Taren nipped at Bastian’s back as he had seen Bastian nip at Rider’s cock. Bastian’s breathing became ragged, his panted exhalations reassurance that Taren was pleasuring him. In spite of their obvious differences, Taren found both Rider and Bastian appealing. He imagined himself naked between the two men, and his body ached to be used.

 

 

24 comments

  1. Ashley E - Reply

    Taren is such a sweetie… definitely mouthy, but still a sweetie. Can’t wait to get my hands on it. *studies checkbook closely…*

  2. julia jurgelowicz - Reply

    I purchased the e-book from amazon after reading the comments from other readers and from the ones that I read they were all favorable ( 5 stars). so i read the excerpt and decided to buy. It was the best choice I made. I enjoyed it so much and could not put it down til I finished reading and before I knew it I was at the end!!!! I was shocked I wanted to read more . . . (LOL) I was so not expecting it to end the way it did can’t wait for the next book. I loved how Taren began to evolve and grow with all the changes he endured in his life. won’t say more don’t want to spoil it for other future readers . . . i would recommend this book.

    • shira - Reply

      Thanks so much, Julia! I’m really glad you enjoyed Taren and Ian and how the story played out! I’ve got you entered in the drawing for Stealing the Wind goodies, too. -Shira

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