In a little over a week, we have a novella coming out that - though it's not getting counted as technically part of The Master Chronicles - is part of the Master mythology. It's a prequel to the book that started it all, Master of Obsidian.
In the spirit of celebrating that first story, that's where we're pulling this week's Flashback Friday.
To say Master holds a soft spot in our hearts is an understatement. This was the book that introduced us to Gideon and Jesse, and the sheer fact that we're planning 9 books total for these guys - not including the prequel that comes out soon - is testimony to just how much we adore them.
Jesse Madding has been working for Gideon, a vampire fighting to maintain the balance between good and evil, for two years, and has loved him for nearly that long. When Gideon slams him against an alley wall and demands sex, Jesse is too happy to oblige, but it opens doors in their relationship that Gideon isn't sure he wants to enter. Especially since he suspects he was under the powerful influence of an unknown substance, and Jesse is his best friend.
As they try to negotiate a new relationship involving Jesse’s willing submission to Gideon’s darker desires—including bondage, pain, and bloodplay—they learn that a new drug is being distributed in the city. Known simply as "obsidian," this drug unleashes a vampire's demon, destroying any sense of self-control. Widespread use of obsidian could bring chaos to Chicago and turn the city into a bloodbath, but even as Jesse and Gideon race to contain it, they're consumed and distracted by their own growing passion and burgeoning emotions...
Advisory: This book contains graphic violence, hardcore bondage and punishment, torture and blood play. May not be suitable for the more sensitive reader.EXCERPT
In the darkness, Gideon found the end of the leash without fail. He turned on his heel and strode toward the front of the building, walking a pace ahead of Jess, and nodded at a large, black vampire seated by the door. The other vampire nodded back, rising from his stool to pull open the door. He never even gave Jesse a second look.
The first thing he noticed about the club’s interior was the temperature. Most clubs Jess was familiar with were stifling, crowded places that left little room to breathe. Sangre was comfortably cool, in spite of the throngs of people that dotted the large, open room. Large fans overhead kept the air circulating, and the music that he’d detected outside made the atmosphere pulse. Not from a band, though. Huge speakers were scattered around the perimeter, filling the space with sound.
It might be full of vampires, but Sangre felt like a living creature. Jesse’s heart sped up a little bit faster.
Gideon began leading him through the crowd, taking him past long, low couches populated with writhing bodies, and nooks where no light escaped, only the occasional cries and whispers. It took little time to realize vampires outnumbered humans by a ratio of almost ten to one, and even less to understand why he knew the difference. He wasn’t the only one wearing a leash. At various points, groups of men and women were congregated around a single collared person, who was usually naked.
Jesse’s mouth went dry. No wonder there was no band. The humans were Sangre’s entertainment.
Gideon hadn’t gone through any of the rules with him, or given him a single hint of what to expect. Was that part of the test? Jesse wasn’t sure, but he thought it was best to err on the side of caution. He kept his mouth shut, and except for the occasional frantic glance around the club, he kept his eyes on the back of Gideon’s neck. Despite his heightened senses, his excitement, his terror, and the growing ache in his groin, he couldn’t help but notice how nice Gideon’s shoulders were.
Gideon came to a stop at the bar, but Jess hung back as he ordered a pint of blood and a double whiskey. As they waited for the order to be filled, Gideon turned around and leaned against the bar, his elbows resting on the edge.
“So?” His gaze was glittering. It was difficult to tell in the dim lighting if that was a trick of Jesse’s overactive imagination or a result of being so near to his demon. “What do you think?”
Jesse didn’t respond immediately. It’s nice, his typical non-answer, was entirely inappropriate. This place wasn’t nice by any definition of the word. Scary? Loud? Thrilling? All true, but also probably not the answer Gideon wanted.
“It’s not anything like I expected,” Jesse said, not bothering to raise his voice over the music. He decided to go with honesty. If Gideon didn’t want an honest response, he shouldn’t have asked. “It’s…a bit intimidating. But exciting. I’ve heard of places like this, of course, but I never thought I’d get a chance to see one from the inside.” He smiled a little sheepishly. “That’s not the only reason it’s exciting, of course.”
Gideon’s lust-filled eyes raked over him, until Jess squirmed. “There aren’t many rules here,” he said. “Do as I say. Don’t speak until spoken to.” Their drinks arrived, and Gideon picked up the whiskey first and handed it to Jess. “That’ll help you relax. I haven’t seen you this tense since we got cornered by that mob down at the pier.”
Jesse accepted the drink gladly. This would probably be much easier if he was a bit buzzed, though he didn’t want to get drunk. He didn’t want to have the temptation of blaming alcohol later for this. He needed to be fully aware of everything he did, everything he agreed to.
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