Rachel was kind enough to give me a preview of an upcoming short story from an anthology she is working on. This is exciting because lots of authors won't share their works in progress, so I am honored.
But he counts well, knows more math than I do, and I’m a whole year older than him.
He puts the book down, back on the shelf exactly how he found it with a nervous care that makes something twist inside my chest. I wonder if he had to tiptoe around his old master’s house with such care. I even asked him about that his first night here, in that roundabout, unobtrusive, therapeutic sort of way they teach us Companions. “My master’s been dead a long time,” he said, avoiding my question deftly, eyes down, his long skinny fingers playing at the fabric of his pants. I think he didn’t like them; he’d been dressed in real finery when Master Krantz had brought him in, but of course we’re not allowed to keep things like that. Despite the clothes, I think he came from a Bad Place. A very, very Bad Place.
His hands are empty now, one trailing across a row of books as he takes slow, measured steps across the study lounge, the other curled over his shoulder, trying to soothe a healing welt. I wonder, for a moment, how those hands would feel on my shoulders. He’s a pretty little thing, skinny as he is. But we all are, us Companions-in-training. I’ve heard my teachers talking; they want to get their hands on him too. But Master Krantz says he bought him for Bigger Things.
Still, I’d like to make him feel good. He looks so sad, standing over there all by himself. Lost, too. This isn’t his world, and until he has his letters, it never can be. But the way his calloused fingers caress the books, I know it won’t be long. He wants to be one of those boys studying at the table in the corner, surrounded by history and politics and current events. He wants to learn of the freemen’s world, and service it in ways that I never will. He wants those Bigger Things Master Krantz talked of.
Network news anchor Daniel Halstrom is at the top of his field, but being at the bottom of the social ladder—being a slave—makes that hard to enjoy. Especially when NewWorld Media, the company who's owned him since childhood, decides to lease him on evenings and weekends to boost their flagging profits.
Daniel's not stupid; he knows there's only one reason a man would pay so much for what little free time he has, and it's got nothing to do with his knowledge of current events. But he's never been made to serve like that before, and he fears he won't survive the experience with his sanity intact.
He finds himself in the home of Carl Whitman, a talk show host whose words fail him time and again when it comes to ordering Daniel to bed. Daniel knows what Carl wants, but it seems as if Carl isn't willing to take it, and Daniel's not willing to give it freely. His recalcitrance costs him dearly, but with patience and some hard-won understanding, love just might flourish where once there'd been only fear and pain. Can Carl become the anchor in Daniel's turbulent life, or will he end up the weight that sinks his slave for good?
(Content warning: This book contains potentially triggering subject matter, including a violent rape that is NOT committed by either hero. Please take heed.)
Anchored is available at Noble Romance Publishing and Amazon.com.
Her first novel, an M/M fantasy erotic romance titled Counterpoint: Book One of Song of the Fallen, released in August 2010 with Guiltless Pleasure Publishing. Her second novel, an M/M alternate-history erotic romance titled Anchored: Belonging Book One, released January 17 with Noble Romance Publishing. Her third, Crescendo: Book II of Song of the Fallen, will release in the fall of 2011. In between, Rachel is writing shorts and novellas, including the M/M BDSM collection Sublime: Collected Shorts, and a not-yet-released cyberpunk novella titled Break and Enter, co-written with Aleksandr Voinov.
You can find Rachel tweeting as RachelHaimowitz, chatting in the Goodreads forums, and blogging at Rachel-Haimowitz.blogspot.com. She loves to hear from folks, so feel free to drop her a line anytime at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com.