M’lan, headmaster of the order of Ka’alar and Jamil Jarka, king’s assassin, find their impossible love challenged to the utmost as a rebellion sweeps them apart, sending Jamil on a dangerous mission to assassinate the rebel leader, General Charvat. Unknown to anyone, Charvat is on his way to the temple to exploit the headmaster’s magical abilities.
When the rebel army arrives, M’lan is thrust into a struggle against political and sexual dominance as Charvat attempts to break his resistance. Violence and death mount, awakening within M’lan both the powers of destruction and the desire for revenge.
On the trail of his prey, Jamil begins to question his devotion to M’lan as his once innocent lover transforms into a mage and invades the assassin’s thoughts and dreams. The closer Jamil draws to M’lan, the more he puts his life and his very soul at risk. Jamil soon realizes that his lover might prove to be more deadly than the man he was sent to kill.
A final confrontation between assassin and monk might destroy them both, but Jamil is relentless in his determination to rescue M’lan, for he knows that only his love can master the mage.
I asked M’lan to join us and tell us the best, and worst, part about being a mage. What follows is wonderful. I hope you like finding out a bit more about M’lan. Read and enjoy!
I’m glad someone finally asked! Everyone assumes it’s all wine, men, and song, having so much power to wield, but what they don’t understand is that more often than not, the power wields you. What this means is that it is rare for anyone to have perfect control of the magical forces simmering in Rakkan’s stones. Even the most powerful mages of the ancient past constantly struggled to tame the flow of power, and they eventually lost their humanity in the pursuit of absolute control. Because the mages were defeated, killed or driven from Rakkan ages ago, I’ve had no one to train me properly. I’m still terrified to call upon the powers, knowing I might lose myself to self-aggrandizing delusion, or worse, hurt innocent bystanders, maybe even someone I love. I get chills thinking about what I put Jamil through. I wonder if he’ll ever be able to truly trust me?
But being a mage isn’t all bad. I can’t deny the exhilaration, the sheer wonder of it. I feel as if I’m being challenged by the gods to evolve into someone worthy of being called mage. Does that sound conceited, to think the gods might take an interest in a mere monk? My words surprise me sometimes. This power doesn’t settle naturally on me. I was much more comfortable simply channeling the healing energies of Salar. Having destructive powers at my fingertips is disconcerting.
However, I will admit that in these troubled times, with dangerous men like General Charvat and even the king seeking to subjugate the people of Rakkan, it is deeply satisfying to know I’m not helpless. Not at all. Those in power fear me. This puts everyone around me in danger, but I can’t deny a sense of satisfaction. I can and I will defend the people of Rakkan against senseless violence and the madness of their masters. I will restore the mages to their proper place in the court of Rakkan.
Did I just say that? Really, all I want to do is live peacefully with Jamil and assure the healing powers of Salar are available to whoever might need them. And if I have to take down generals and kings to assure this, so be it.
M’lan knelt beside the assassin’s bronzed body. He placed his palm on Jamil’s chest and silently beseeched Salar to remove the deadly impulses instilled in Jamil ever since he began his training as an assassin. Jamil closed his eyes and seemed to relax, but as the warm energy of the god seeped through M’lan’s fingers, Jamil jerked suddenly to full alertness. Like a cobra striking he seized M’lan’s wrist and gave it a painful twist, eyes flashing. M’lan sat back, startled.
Jamil did not let him go. He let out a slow breath and lifted M’lan’s fingers to his mouth. He kissed the knuckles of a clenched fist. “The last thing I need is more spells to confuse this simple warrior’s mind.”
“A prayer is not a spell!” M’lan tried to pull free but couldn’t. He gritted his teeth, fighting back a rising anger. Jamil’s strength both entranced and infuriated him.
“Stop trying to weaken me.” Jamil said in a wretchedly calm voice. “You must stay here and do your duty, I must go away and do mine. Nothing has changed.”
M’lan inhaled slowly, breath catching. “Let me go.”
Alexis Duran was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. At the University of Oregon, her fascination with people and relationships led her to major in Sociology, but her main love has always been creative writing. She’s worked in museums, fashion, finance and film production. Her favorite job so far was cataloguing the collection in a haunted Victorian Mansion. She’s had several short stories published in the mystery, horror and literary genres and is the author of the Masters and Mages erotic fantasy series. Her fiction has won several awards including the Rupert Hughes Award from the Maui Writers Conference. She lives with one dog and four and half cats. She is currently working on the next Masters and Mages novel and several other erotic novellas.
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/alexis.duran.18294
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16-Mar: Rainbow Gold Reviews, The Hat Party, Love Bytes
17-Mar: MM Good Book Reviews, Amanda C. Stone
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