The Amazon Iowan

Blog of Author Heidi Cullinan

Links and Recs and Things

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Moar links!

Final post for the blog hop—last one before the giveaway on SATURDAY!

Take the RRW reader survey!

***

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve likely seen me carrying on about books lately. Here are a few that I particularly enjoyed:

Handle With Care by Josephine Myles

Frat Boy and Toppy by Anne Tenino (the title is dumb, I know. But the book is great.)

Cage Match by Bonnie Dee

***

A special nod goes to Chalice by Amber Kell. Now, if you don’t read Kell, you need to know she is the height of cheese and camp and high trope, especially the whole Alpha/sub thing. Also the books are never long. BUT. This last one has given me the very mother of bunnies and after the angst and sweating and serious fucking work of the official WIP (which is almost done!), it’s a wonderful relief. So thank you Ms. Kell.

***

Okay, speaking of the official WIP. I still have everything I’ve ever mentioned here in the hopper, but a few months ago I called Saritza nearly crying and said, “Please just tell me what to finish because I’m losing my mind.” I gave her the list, and she didn’t hesitate to pick. Now, I have kept this one under my hat pretty hard because I have been highly superstitious about it, but I’m starting to feel like I can share, mostly because it’s nearly done. Less than 10k to go, and most of it is adding a second POV (which now I have no idea how I ever didn’t have it) (and in first person too, damn it all to hell). That one is called Cowboy Eagle and it’s not a sequel per se to Nowhere Ranch but it’s set in the same setting with a new pair of main characters (ex con rodeo rider and a half Lakota troubled man) and includes Roe and Travis and Haley and Tory and a now seven-year-old Grace. Who steals every damn scene she’s in, naturally, just like Mama taught her.

The collage, which, yes, I was a geek and bought stock images for:

And here’s the other one. It’s called Slave Prince because sometimes we like to keep it simple, and the theme is there was this scene where I was ACHING for Kell to go to the slutty raunchy place and because she has class, she didn’t go there. Well, you know I have no class. So I totally went there. Humiliation/exposure kink, we has it.

Some of my favorite lines, since I’m in here babbling away:

***

Cowboy Eagle: 

This seemed to please her, and she nodded as if our future meeting were all settled. “You can explain them after I get back from school. I don’t want to go, because they’re all stuck up sonsabitches who think they’re better than everyone, but I have to go because it’s the law.”

This time I had to hide my grin behind my hand, and Roe didn’t even try to correct Grace, just rolled his eyes. “Get your backpack, baby, and I’ll take you to the bus as soon as I whip Daddy Travis’s ass for talking bad in front of you.”

“Okay. You whip his ass and I’ll wait in the truck.” Grace skip-hopped down the hall.

*

Grace didn’t join in right away, watching me outline my pony instead. “Daddy Travis says you have a bee in your butt. Does that hurt?”

I blinked at her for a confused second, took in her utter seriousness, and then I laughed, the sound pealing like a bell inside me. “A little.”

Grace looked very grave. “Did you have to go to a doctor?”

I nodded and continued to color. “Yes, except I think she’s a licensed social worker, not a doctor.”

“But she can get the bee out?”

“She seems to be doing a good job so far.”

Gracie looked almost tearful, but before I could find the way to explain there was no actual bee, she glommed onto my arm and hugged me tightly. “I’m so glad. I missed you, Coby. I wanted to come help you with the bee, but I’m not allowed to see naked men.”

*

“Coby.” I touched his face. “Coby, you’ve been badly hurt. I think you were beaten. Were you?” When he nodded, I felt hot rage rising inside me, the neat to beat back abruptly acute. “Do you know who did it?”

“Fuckers,” Coby slurred.

*

(This one isn’t witty/funny so much as kind of gives you the theme of the story)

He nodded at this in approval. “You don’t need to be scared of me. Not ever, Coby.”

I wasn’t scared of him. I was scared of nameless things. Of emptiness. Of being alone. Of a world I had never fit into and couldn’t understand. Of myself.

Drew reached for my face, his palm cupping for my cheek, and I shut my eyes and leaned into his touch.

His big, rough fingers stroked my skin as he spoke. “I’ll admit you scare me. Not you so much yourself, but that darkness haunting you, the sorrow that tries to drag you down, the despair? That does. Because I know damn well I don’t have what it takes to fix that for you, and I never will. You scare me because you carry so much, such serious, nasty stuff. I can’t make it go away. I can’t give you a way out. I wish I could, but I’ve learned enough about my limitations to know there’s no way I’m promising that. Not now and not ever.” His thumb brushed my lip. “But I can hold it awhile. I can give you a space to get away from it. I want to give you that, Coby. More than I want anything in the world. Except it only works if you give it up to me. If you trust me enough to have your back. If you don’t imagine I’m fucking every gay idiot that walks in front of me and issues and invitation.”

***
That’s the serious one. Now for the raunchy fun of  Slave Prince: (Mom and relatives who don’t want to see this side of your Heidi, stop reading NOW)

*

Really, he should have known better than to give Loki such a wide opening.

He’d known some alarm when he realized Adric had set himself up to go last, but when he’d seen the tall, cloaked figure shuffling beside the lendman, he’d let himself relax, assuming Adric meant to give him some ugly woman or brain-addled half-wit dressed as a soldier. When Adric drew the figure forward, Damen met his enemy’s triumphant glare with a cool nod, thinking himself ready for whatever insult about to come his way.

Adric pulled the ties, the cloak fluttered to the ground, and the banquet hall issued a collective gasp that would have been comical if Damen would’ve had air left in his lungs to laugh.

Where the ugly woman or half-wit should have been stood a young man so beautiful he made Damen’s teeth ache—wearing a crude replica crown of the empire that had driven out the Norsa Quadrant, their royal tattoos, and the intricate chain-harness of an imperial whore.

And nothing else.

*

He tried to tell himself there was no way any of them could know the crown—wrong century—and the tattoo—backwards, wrong arm—were actually adorning an imperial prince. He’d figured out what they were going for, though why they’d dyed his hair black he couldn’t place, and he didn’t even want to know what the harness was about, but the notion that they’d be presenting him as a crude imitation of an imperial prince to an actual Neo-Viking hadn’t even occurred to him. Once again too this entire ordeal seemed carved as a penance from his most secret and darkest sexual fantasies. The Viking king wore furs and a nose ring that looked far too much like bone, and the sawed-off skull he’d dropped on the floor was leaking ale—yes, he’d been drinking from it.

Something told Carin the next skull-goblet would carbon ID to the Allyious Dynasty. Because King Nose Ring the Angry was not pleased with his gift.

*

The king leaned in to Carin’s ear, tugging on the lobe with his teeth in-between whispers.

“Hear me well, slave. I have no notion of how complicit you are in this plot, but my suspicion is you’re as much the victim as me. Play along with my game and I give my word I’ll settle fairly with you once we’re in private, which unfortunately won’t be for several painfully public hours. The greater you perform your part, the greater shall be your reward. Do we have an accord?”

Carin almost nodded and stopped himself just in time. “Yes,” he whispered back instead.

“Excellent. I apologize for this next part in advance.” He stood back, pulled his cock out of his trousers, and pushed Carin down to his knees. “You look too thin, princeling. Let me feed you some meat.”

*

Oh, time for another drink. Damen poured liberally and downed it in one gulp. “Only about four people alive know that, by the way, so keep it under your hat. Everyone else has totally swallowed the line that we invade star systems and outer rim imperial ships because that’s what good Vikings do.”

When the silence went on too long, Damen turned around, enjoying the way the vodka made Carin soft and floaty. Even his shocked frown was nicely fuzzy.

“Why are you telling me all this?” Carin said at last.

Damned if Damen knew. “You begged me to twist your nipples until they almost snapped and ate my come from your own ass after I fucked you raw across a banquet table. I figured state secrets were an even trade.”

 ***
AND WITH THAT, I’ll go back to work.

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