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Carved in Flesh

Anthology

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People often say that the true perfection in the human form is in its imperfections. Scars are visceral reminders of a person's past, a sign of an event that can never fade. Whether it was gained in combat, a traumatic experience, or part of a ritual with a lover, scars are the ultimate labels. They leave a permanent mark on the body and spirit that, one way or another, change a person forever.

Veld is an Elf who has known for years that his mute friend Oren is spoken for; the design of scars spanning Oren's torso reminds him with every look. When Oren's vowed, Haram, is killed, Veld must not only help to prove his own innocence, but also tread carefully as he discovers Oren's Right and Haram's last request. Next, Tiocfaidh Ár Lá—"our day will come"—was the cry in Joe Colson's heart, even as he fled his beloved Ireland to hide from his sins in the States. He'd assumed his chances for love were long past when a much younger man rekindles something in him he'd thought long dead.

A near-fatal car accident leaves superstar model Ashley's face permanently scarred and his career into a tailspin. Only his lover, Will, can pull him out of his depression, provided his affection hasn't turned to Faded Love. Young Timothy has come to Larry for Scar Therapy. But Tim is seeking healing of a different kind, and Larry finds that he has his own wounds that need tending. Garvin's scars are a Gift of the Goddess, seared into his skin as a beacon to find his kidnapped love, Nyle. Rescuing him, though, may entail a deeper wound than even the Goddess would bestow. Finally, when Kanovan returns from his off-world tour, his lover Mirin finds a lover's mark he hadn't expected. Mirin must re-evaluate how much Kanovan means to him, and what he must do to make Kanovan always Sojourn Home to him.

My head bowed, my hands folded within the sleeves of my cloak, I hummed along with the Prayer of Death as I followed the procession. I kept my head down, even though I walked behind Oren. As long as I didn't look at him, I didn't think about having to bear seeing him in mourning, didn't have to think about how the minute I'd catch the sorrow in his eyes, my feet would be taking me to him, my hands would be reaching out. I couldn't let myself lose control. He wasn't mine.

I didn't even look up when Oren suddenly stopped. I chalked it up to nerves, emotions. Any minute now, we would round the corner to lead Haram's body through the center of the village. There, everyone could wish his departed essence farewell one last time before we led him to his pyre.

The shuffling of Oren's feet seemed at odds with his mood, though, and, in the end, I just had to look up. I only barely kept my jaw from dropping. Oren had taken his shirt off. Before I had time to process his actions, we moved on. With great reluctance, I dragged my sight away from Oren's gorgeous, broad back. I had no right. He wasn't mine.

My resolve lasted as long as it took for us to reach the center, and a collective gasp greeted us. Everyone looked away from Oren. Everyone but me and Oren's sister, Ajuna, who walked next to him, her hand firmly planted in the small of Oren's back to support him. I swallowed, clenching my hands within my sleeves. As much as I wanted to reach out, I couldn't. He wasn't mine. Ajuna would have to be the pillar Haram had always been for Oren.

-- from "Oren's Right" by Blaine D. Arden

4 - Crissy at Joyfully Jay
"Overall, it was a good anthology with a few great stories. I’m not convinced that the title of the anthology suits the "scar" theme. Glancing at the title and the cover I thought at first that the anthology was about cutting with a BDSM theme, but that is not the case."

4 - Darien at Pants Off Reviews
"I thought the cutting would have been predominant, but I was somewhat surprised by the offering of stories. It is a wide mix of tropes, and I believe readers will find a fave among the six stories.... Carved In Flesh is not the hit I was expecting it to be, but it's still a very good offering of some wonderful stories and talented writers."

4 - Cheryl at Top 2 Bottom Reviews
"I found this Anthology to be very well written. I really liked every story and thought each story brought something special to the anthology. Every couple dealt with the scars they had in a different way, but all with love. I thought there was a lot of creativity and uniqueness to these storied and each one was emotionally driven. I found myself quickly interested with every character and the story they had to tell. I would recommend Carved in Flesh because it is a good, solid read and I believe your heart will be touched as was mine."

3.5 - Monika at World Of Diversity Fiction
"This was a tricky anthology to rate, every story had its good and bad and the bad was enough I couldn’t ignore them but that’s a personal thing. There were a few stories that started out great then fizzled as they neared the end which saddened me they really were good stories. I think there is enough variation of story types that everyone will find one or two or three that are special to them."

3 - Alex at Between the Covers
"Anthologies are always tough, and once again I found a wide range of quality, both in writing and storytelling. How much you enjoy the stories will really depend on what you want out of them: Are you here purely for the carving kink? Then they all will probably satisfy that. For those who want more depth and exploration, there are a good number for that as well, and even the ones I considered weak were still enjoyable."

Series

Carved in Flesh

Length

86,000 words
193 pages

Release Date

September 14, 2012

Book Type

Anthology

Categories

Gay

ISBN

978-1-937058-57-9

Cover Art

Nathie Block

Keywords

M/M, scarification, fetish, dubious consent, fantasy, contemporary, dark themes, science fiction, violence

Contributors

Angelia Sparrow
Blaine D. Arden
Kaje Harper
Logan Zachary
M.A. Church
Naomi Brooks
T.C. Mill