Storm Moon Press - Gift of the Goddess Untitled Page

Gift of the Goddess

Kaje Harper

Out of Print

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Garvin's lover Nyle has been kidnapped by a band of soldiers in need of a smith. In the king's army, that means he'll serve until he's dead, and Garvin will be damned if he'll let that happen. But Garvin's a small, slight man without the skills to follow and take on trained soldiers. For the first time in his life, Garvin prays to the Goddess for help, for enough guidance to get him to Nyle, so he can do whatever it takes to rescue the man he loves. And the Goddess answers him.

It hurt like hell! He'd thought he was prepared for anything, but this was like a shower of molten iron on his skin. Garvin clapped his hands over his eyes, pressing hard until he saw flashes of light. He froze in that position, unwilling to move. It was as though his body was being scorched and charred, up both arms and across his chest, but there was no sound and no smell of burning flesh. He didn't dare look at himself. He'd begged for help, implored Rima for guidance, something, anything, without really expecting his prayer to be answered. Clearly, he'd gotten attention from the goddess herself. But by all the gods, it hurt!

Somehow, he forced his lips to complete the ritual blessing. "All thanks, Rima Who Made the Stars, for answering my prayer. All hail, Rima Who Made the Earth, to your power. All praise, Rima Who Bore the First Man, for your love toward your creations."

As he spoke the final word, he felt a touch like a cool hand on his burning forehead. After a moment, the sensation faded and was gone. There was only silence and the near-unbearable fire that spread across his skin.

Garvin drew in a ragged breath. He'd never dared approach Rima before. He wasn't one to petition the gods for anything. He preferred to live his life, do his work, keep to himself, and take the arrows of fortune as they came. But this had been for Nyle. For Nyle, he would storm the very gates of the heavens.

Slowly, Garvin became accustomed enough to the pain to notice other sensations returning. Crickets chirped in the grass, and summer leaves rustled softly in the evening breeze. He could smell leather and horse and candle-smoke on his own palms. He was sticky with sweat, exhausted, and shaking, close to collapse. Not that he'd been in good shape when he'd ridden into the clearing, half-crazy with fear and desperate for any kind of guidance. A plea to the goddess had been all he had left to try.

How could disaster have happened so fast? One minute they were home, happy, just another day. He'd had his duties with the house, livestock, and garden; Nyle had his work at the forge. A moment later, Nyle was a gone, a prisoner, and Garvin found himself in fast and unprepared pursuit. In hells-be-damned unskilled pursuit, too—he'd lost the trail on a stretch of dry and rocky ground miles back. None of his casting around had served to pick up the hoofmarks again.

In desperation, he'd dismounted here, aware that every minute he lagged behind increased the chance that he'd never see Nyle again. He'd dug into his snatched-up saddle bags in a futile search for some kind of help, and the first thing he'd touched had been the candle. A ceremonial candle, something Nyle must have packed whenever he'd used the bags last. Garvin's faith had never been strong enough to bother with such things, but he took it as a sign now. He'd gathered the dregs of his wavering belief in the gods and goddesses, lit the candle, and called on Rima.

Rima, because she was strongest and mother of all. Rima, because she made mankind and loved her creations and had no association with soldiers or death. If he was going to do this, he would go right to the top. It had been hubris of the worst sort, for a man who'd never paid more than lip service, to beg a favor of the goddess. But he'd done it. And out of all expectation, he'd been given an answer. He didn't know if the pain was the answer or just the price, but he'd been given something. Undoubtedly, she would expect him to figure out what to do with it.

4 - Zac D at Reviews By Jessewave
" I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up with some skepticism, as fantasy isn’t my usual thang, but I came away hugely impressed with this book’s take on a challenging genre. Two elements of the book captivated me most: the world building, and the characterization. The world building is excellent. A lot is crammed into a short book, but never does the plot feel overloaded with convoluted details. The imagery is sound, and easily absorbed. It didn’t feel forced, or flowery. It was gritty, with a hint of magic. As a whole, this book is excellent, and I enjoyed it very much. If you liked Scorpion, or GoT, you will appreciate this one."

4 - Breann at The Romance Reviews
"GIFT OF THE GODDESS grabs you from the get-go and just doesn't let you go until the very end. I loved Garvin's bravery throughout the story; he made smart choices and stuck to them, no matter how badly things may have turned out for him. What I really loved about him was how he went against your normal M/M stereotype. There was tons of action and it was so fast-paced that I wasn't bored for a single second. From the moment Garvin called on The Goddess for her help until the last scene, I was hooked."

4 - Thommie at MM Good Book Reviews
"Oh I loved this story, absolutely adored it. Set in a world where the king and his soldiers can take what they want, little boys are of no use even as they are talented, and gentleness exists in rare people, this story takes you on a lovely ride as it follows Garvin’s life. I just can’t say how much I enjoyed this story, how wonderful the balance between action plot and romance was. Or that between lovemaking scenes and pain-inducing ones that had you on your toes. Yup, loved it alright; this book is very well written and the emotions it evokes grip you and join you throughout this entire tale. Definitely recommended!"

Series

Carved in Flesh

Length

22,400 words
50 pages

Release Date

Book Type

Short Story

Categories

Gay

ISBN

978-1-62757-054-1

Cover Art

ThinkSentient Ltd

Keywords

M/M, fantasy, rape, scarification