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In the short forty-six pages of this well-written book, we have sexy men, suspense, magic, torture, knife play, angst, sex and mayhem. What more could one ask for? Well, I do wish it had been longer, but overall this is a yummy tidbit.

BJ for Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
“I wish to buy a boy.”

A warrior from the Northlands purchases a young man for purposes both secret and perhaps sinister.

“I wish to buy a boy,” the stranger said.

His shadow separated from those of the flames. It loomed across the wall as he pushed back his hood. His hair was black as night, tied back in warrior fashion. He wore a patch over his left eye. His cloak carried the scent of night and autumn in this place that smelled perennially of sweat and boiled cabbage and hurried sex.

“Buy?” Across the table, Quix’s own eyes went round and dark as counting beads. “Buy? You mean take with you?”

Faro stole another look at the stranger as he filled his goblet. Despite the triangle of black that quartered his face, he was beautiful, and though his garb was simple, he had the manner of a lord. The clasp at his throat was finely wrought, the emblem of some old northern family. What could such a man need with a whoremaster?

Ignoring the wine, the stranger recited, “Tall and slim. Blue eyes. Chestnut hair.” His good eye, which was the fierce amber of a hawk’s, rose to meet Faro’s curious gaze. “This one will do,” he said.

Quix nearly choked on his wine. “Th-this one?”

Faro went very still as the stranger looked him over. That dispassionate gaze turned him cold, as though he stood naked, as though the winter wind licked his bare bones. Instinctively, he turned to Quix.

Reading his face, Quix made some stumbling objection.

“Faro is not—that is—Faro is—well, he’s—” he gestured vaguely at their filled goblets and then at the statue-still youth, indicating his exclusive status. Or perhaps his history; something the whoremaster took perverse pride in.

“Indeed. Thirty silver pieces?”

“Thirty!” Quix was insulted. “Why, the boy is worth triple that. Look at him. Look at that skin, that hair, those eyes. This one’s got all his teeth. He’s clean, he’s healthy. Healthy as a horse. And educated! He can read and write. Why I wouldn’t sell him for—for double that!”

Faro put the decanter down. His hand shook a little. The stranger noted it with his pale eye. A tiny sardonic smile touched his mouth.

“Seventy-five pieces of silver,” he said urbanely.

“I tell you he’s worth his weight in gold. One of my most requested boys.” Quix faltered under Faro’s searing gaze. “Well, I don’t much use him anymore—”

“How old is he?” the stranger inquired. “Nineteen? Twenty? Surely growing long in the tooth for this game? Your customers favor them softer, pinker, still wet behind the ears, no?”

From behind the thin walls came shouts and laughter. Someone began to sing loudly and off-key. And from inside the walls, the sound of rats gnawing at the woodwork.

Quix chewed his lip. “He’s not…” he muttered. He reached for the wine cup once more.

“As for reading and writing,” the stranger’s voice grew mocking, “I don’t suppose most of your customers read and write. I don’t suppose you do yourself.”

Quix was red with anger—and with shame—as his eyes met Faro’s. The boy opened his mouth but the words would not come. It was not pride that stilled his tongue. As many times as Quix had promised to give him his freedom, he had never done it. Faro saw now that he never would, fond of him though Quix was in his way. There was no point in begging.

“Enough haggling,” the stranger said. “Fifty gold pieces.”

“Gold?”

The stranger pulled a leather pouch out of his cloak and tossed it to the table where it landed with a plump and satisfying jingle.

“Sold,” whispered Quix.