Friday, November 29, 2013

Chanukah-themed fantasy art: queer female couple and dragon lighting the menorah

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Chanukah! I've never seen Chanukah art with dragons or lesbians, so, being that my Prizm fantasy novel The Second Mango (and its sequels) take place in a Jewish-themed culture, I decided to commission some.

First, we have Rivka, or "Captain Riv", and her dragon, showing us that lighting a menorah is way more fun when you've got a dragon friend. What she's holding there is the shamash, the lead candle that's used to light all the other candles after being lit first. Artwork by Erika Hammerschmidt.

Next, Queen Shulamit, sovereign ruler of Perach, lighting the menorah with her sweetheart and personal chef, Aviva. Shulamit lives with multiple food allergies and Aviva was the first person to help her figure out what she could eat safely. Line art is by Ceili Braidwood and the inking was by Jane Dominguez.

For more art of these characters, you can always visit my WordPress blog. And there are more books coming out with these characters; the sequel is on schedule for next summer and I'm halfway through writing another one.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday FREE Reads

Happy Thanksgiving

No new titles this week? No need to worry, we here at Torquere Books have brought you five new free reads by some of our top authors to show how thankful we are to have readers like you. Happy reading, happy holidays and may the feast begin!

Counting Down
by Kiernan Kelly
Jackson Lafayette’s life is nearly idyllic. He’s newly married to his husband, Alex, and they’re madly in love. They’ve just bought a house together, have two dogs, and are basically as happy as can be. The only fly in the ointment is Jackson’s boss, Mr. Simpson, whose homophobia is creating a hostile work environment for Jackson.
When conditions at work escalate, and Jackson begins to show physical symptoms of stress, Alex must help him understand that unless he stands up for himself, nothing will ever get better.

Dead Cow Pants
by Julia Talbot
Shay might just the only werewolf on earth who doesn't like leather. Is there anything Darius can do to get Shay to wear dead cow pants?

Leather and Newfound Land
by CB Conwy
Getting a puppy can cause major upheaval, mess, and distraction in your life. Much like getting a boyfriend, come to think about it. And Cliff has to think about it after Mischa (the adorable, but incredibly messy Newfoundland puppy) and Gerard (the equally adorable, but incredibly tidy man) come into his life on the very same day.
It's a case of opposites attracting -- and a puppy making it worse. The dog is wreaking havoc, and in the end, Cliff''s doubting whether he's going to have a boyfriend for much longer. Then a puppy catastrophe leads to the discovery of Gerard's kinky secret, and Cliff realizes that they may be more compatible than he ever thought possible.

Leather Work and Lonely Cowboys, a Roughstock Story
by BA Tortuga
Beau Lafitte is happily retired from bullriding, and glad his lover Sam is recovering from a terrible injury. The problem is that with Sam taking up a new hobby, Beau is lonely. Can he get Sam to understand that what he needs are words, not leather chaps?
Beau and Sam first appeared in Roughstock: File Gumbo

Taking Inventory, a Hammer story
by Sean Michael
Marcus is getting ready for a leather convention and Jim is helping his Master take inventory. There's nothing better than the smell of leather and his Master nearby, and Jim is happy as a clam. Happy enough that even Marcus pushing can only bring joy.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Meme Monday: Favorite Movie

What’s your favorite movie of all time and why?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thankful Sale!!

Happy almost-Thanksgiving!! Get 20% off through Monday with coupon code "thankyou" at or! Sale ends Monday night at midnight.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Release Day!

Everyone Loves a Wedding
By: Chris Owen
69 pages / 20700 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-613-0
Buy Link:
Spencer is more than happy to stand up with his twin sister when she gets married, and accepts the role of maid of honor without hesitation. He’s determined to plan the best wedding shower ever, mostly because his other sisters assume he won’t be able to, and he’s focused on giving his twin the party of her dreams. Mostly focused.
When he’s not thinking about cakes, tea sets, flowers, and tulle, he’s entirely caught up by thinking about Dean, the best man.  Lucky for him, Dean is equally caught. But in the face of siblings, parents, small children, miles of ribbon, and enough booze for four bachelor parties, do the two of them have what it takes to make it all the way to the alter?
Previously published in Family Matters from Torquere Press.

Velvet Song, a VG Resurrection story
By: Sean Michael
68 pages / 17400 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-618-5
Buy Link:
The Velvet Glove is rebuilding after the destruction of the bombing. Everything is will be new and improved, and a new generation of men will be taking over the day to day running of the place.
Efren is one such man. Promoted from simple trainer to in charge of the training salles, he’s focused on getting the place up and running along with Hawk and Jester. Something is distracting him, though, pulling at him.
Mabon, a Setian – a race that’s ultra-sensitive to pheromones and the chemistry of love and sex – is one of the workers brought in to paint the new walls. He knows he’s not allowed to interact with the Glove residents, none of the workers are, but for him it’s especially important given his race. He too has been distracted, though, a song building inside him.
When Efren and Mabon finally meet, they are immediately drawn to each other as surely as two magnets. Efren is sure they are meant to be, but Mabon is worried. They come from two very different stations in life and he knows he’s about to be sent away. Can they really find a happy ending together, or are they doomed from the start?

Taking a Chance
By: A. Catherine Noon & Rachel Wilder
26 pages / 6200 words
Buy Link:
Doctor Jacob Davison has outgrown the hookups of his younger days and wants to settle down.  When he’s abandoned by the side of the road, a leather-clad stranger stops and offers him a ride. Chance Renton is different from anyone Jay’s ever met. He’s caring and helpful, yet cynical and world-weary.
From the first moment of their shared motorcycle ride, an attraction begins to simmer between them. Between Jay’s ex-boyfriend showing up and the misconceptions they have about each other, does this relationship have a chance?
Originally released as a part of the 2012 Charity Sip Blitz

The Night Before Thanksgiving
By: M. Durango
19 pages / 5000 words
Buy Link:
Bailey occasionally fills in as a substitute bartender at his friend's airport bar as a favor. He strikes up a conversation with Curt, a professor on his way to a family Thanksgiving in Chicago. They hit it off, and make plans to meet up after the holiday, but when the flight is delayed and then canceled, Bailey jumps at the chance to move up the timetable. He invites Curt back to his place for a drink and more, but he has the feeling this is more than a one-night stand. Will Curt feel the same?

By: John Reinhard Dizon
152 pages / 46500 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-614-7
Buy Link:
Trip and Lyrica come from opposite sides of the creek that defines the borderline of Streamtown. The mercantile North Side and the agrarian South Side observe different customs and lifestyles that segregate the neighborhoods. Trip and Lyrica communicate by signals across the rooftops and eventually meet and fall in love, only they realize they will have to flee the Aboveground and start a new life in a 'low ground' society they have never known.
The young lovers soon learn of the plight of the banished rooftop children, and fight for their rights as citizens of Streamtown. But Lyrica's jilted suitor from the Aboveground conspires with Trip's ex-friends to kidnap Lyrica and return her to the rooftops. The Aboveground society is uncovered in the process, and Trip and Lyrica are forced to intercede on behalf of their childhood neighbors, facing the wrath of their new benefactors.
Coming Next Week...

On Sale This Week

This week we have books by M. Durango, Sean Michael, A. Catherine Noon & Rachel Wilder, and Chris Owen on sale at 20% off!

Check them out.

Review Round-Up

We hope you enjoy this review round-up. It has some awesome reviews. Take the time to read through them and choose some reads you just must have. Watch for our coupon codes being posted so save you a little on your shopping sprees.  We have a few more reviews that will be coming later this week.

Rainbow Book Reviews

It's Good to Be Home by Delilah Storm
Sky Rockets in Flight by Rob Rosen
Start Something New by J. Rocci
Knights in Silk by Julia Talbot
Final Awakening by M. Raiya
Pour Me a Triple by Sean Michael
Roughstock: Tag Team - Fais Do Do by BA Tortuga
Cereus: Training by Sean Michael, BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot
Grave Appeal by Kassandra Lea
Earth Boys are Easy by Tam Ames
Spell the Coffee by Glyn Soitino
Silver Shadows by Logan Zachary
A Story in the Dark with a Graveyard Tree by Katalinya Palokova
Digging Without a Shovel by Neena Jaydon
The Haunted Halloween of Barnaby Sloane by Jenna Jones 
Star Sapphire by Michael Barnette 
Absinthe by BA Tortuga & Julia Talbot 
Cinnamon and Seduction by Ari McKay 
An Erie Halloween by V.L. Locey 
The Wishbone by Rob Rosen
Moonlight Becomes Him by Alex Younger 
Old Scars by Aaron Michaels 
Loadin' Up by BA Tortuga 
Riding Like a Stallion by Kiernan Kelly 
Clear Round by Jane Davitt 
A Secret Indigo by Missouri Dalton 
For Love and Money by Sean Michael 
Happily Ever After by CB Conway 

Love Romances & More

Falling From a Height by AR Moler 
Every Drop Of My Love by Jane Davitt 
Ranger's Luck by Serena Yates 
A Story in the Dark with a Graveyard Tree by Katalinya Palokova 

MM Good Book Reviews

Captive Magic by Angela Benedetti 
Firestation Heat by Pelaam 
Final Awakening by M. Raiya 
First Aid by J.L. Jensen 
Dog Days March by Liam Grey 
Flack Jacket Love by Sean Michael 
Every Sunday at One by V.L. Locey 
Drama on Skyline Drive by Avery Dawes 
Jury Duty by John Amory 
It's Good to be Home by Delilah Storm 
Gray and Burnished Granite Season by Tray Ellis 
Hunter's Hunt by Chris T. Kat 
Burning Now by AR Moler 
Every Drop of My Love by Jane Davitt 
Captive Magic by Angela Benedetti 
Rangers Luck by Serena Yates
Lost and Found in the Pacific by Julian Griffith 
Knights in Silk by Julia Talbot 
Elided Cadence by TC Blue 
The Immoral Use of Rubber by Kiernan Kelly 
Taking Pride by Lorne Rodman 
Sky Rockets in Flight by Rob Rosen 
Seeking Hearts by A. Catherine Noon & Rachel Wilder 
Nine Weeks with Griff by Richard Natale 
The Blight by Missouri Dalton 
Halcyon Hush by Indra Vaughn 
Charity Sip Blitz Complete Package 
Roughstock: Tag Team Fais Do Do by BA Tortuga 
Pour Me a Triple by Sean Michael 
A Story in the Dark with a Graveyard Tree by Katalinya Palokova 
Bar None Anthology 
Mace Was Here by G.R. Richards 
The Caldwell Ghost by K.J. Charles 
Surprise Surprise by Star Noble 
An Erie Halloween by V.L. Locey 
Silver Shadows by Logan Zachary 
Absinthe by Julia Talbot & BA Tortuga

Hearts on Fire Reviews

Balls and Strikes by Sean Michael 
Hammer and Tongs by BA Tortuga 
Cornfed by Kiernan Kelly 
Surprise Surprise by Star Noble 
Cereus: Training by Sean Michael, Julia Talbot, BA Tortuga 
Every Drop Of My Love by Jane Davitt 
Into the Heart of the Abyss by I.D. Locke 

Top 2 Bottom Reviews

Loving Aidan by Ashavan Doyon 
The Blight by Missouri Dalton
Roughtstock Tag Team: Fais Do Do by BA Tortuga
Brownies, a Hammer story by Sean Michael 
Beneath the Mask by Mychael Black 

Literary Nymphs

Cereus: Training by Sean Michael, Julia Talbot & BA Tortuga 
Brownies by Sean Michael 
Adding It Up by Chris Owen & Tory Temple   

Winter's Trail by Darren Endymion 

Long and Short Reviews

Fireworks at the Lake by Berengaria Brown 
A Deal with the Enemy by Jessica Ennis 
Refrigeration Blues by Richard Natale 
Wrapped in Ribbons by Sean Michael 
The Prince and the Penis by Logan Zachary 
A Werewolf in Sheep's Clothing by Rob Rosen 
I Know What Gay Is by Foxglove Lee

Monday, November 18, 2013

Meme Monday: TV Homes

If you could live in any home on a television series, what would it be?

New This Week

Everyone Loves a Wedding by Chris Owen (Novella, M/M)
Everyone loves a wedding – even when you’re a gay man playing the part of your twin’s maid of honour and you’re seeing the best man, while both of you plan the wedding showers and bachelor parties….

Stxeamtown by John Reinhard Dizon (Prizm novella)
 a post-apocalyptic steam-powered society, two young lovers defy the rules in crossing the Stream that divides their rival neighborhoods. They are forced to overcome the pride and prejudice of their families and friends in this heartwarming steampunk classic.

Taking a Chance by A. Catherine Noon & Rachel Wilder (Short Story, M/M) 
When two strangers meet, will a shared motorcycle ride lead to more? Jay wants a connection. Chance wants excitement.  When the two combine, they are unstoppable.

The Night Before Thanksgiving by M. Durango (Short Story, M/M)
An airport bar isn't a swinging hotspot, even during the holidays, but after meeting the bartender, Bailey, Curt might have cause to be grateful for his canceled flight.

Velvet Song, a VG Resurrection story by Sean Michael (Novella, M/M) 
As the Velvet Glove rebuilds, Efren, new head of the training salles, discovers that construction painter Mabon might be a match for the song in his heart.

Look for them on Wednesday at Torquere Press.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Foxfur is not a sequel in the technical sense -- it doesn't continue a plot line introduced by another story. But it does share a universe with my story Safe Harbor.

The two have very little in common -- the city in which Safe Harbor takes place is hundreds of miles from the empire of Shaoda where most of Foxfur is located, and none of the main characters overlap -- and so it's perfectly reasonable to read one without the other, or to read them in whichever order you prefer.

But if you've already read Safe Harbor, then you just might catch a glimpse of Rafe and Tyver in Foxfur!

Rafe's first dozen years were brutal, defined by privation, abuse, and terror in the slums of the free city Haven. When Maestro Servio, Haven's finest shipwright, offers the boy a position as an apprentice, Rafe finds himself bewildered and confused by a world he'd never hoped to enter, and suffering nightmares that are memories of the past he only wants to leave behind. In order to survive, he relies desperately on his fellow apprentice, Tyver.

As they enter adulthood together, Rafe realizes that his friendship with Tyver has grown into something deeper. He dreams of making Tyver his lover, but before that dream can come true, Rafe must set aside lessons of pain and fear that he's learned all too well, and instead learn to trust not only Tyver, but himself.

Check out Safe Harbor and  Foxfur along with my other stories at Torquere Press!

Huli Jing

Foxfur borrows from the huli jing, which is a Chinese myth analogous to the Japanese kitsune. Both are fox spirits, traditionally sporting nine tails, but never fewer than three. Depending on the story in question, huli jing may be either good or evil, but are almost always female, and often seductive.

In Foxfur, we encounter a fox spirit who is a fantastical departure from the traditional legends. The lissa, as she is known, is actually a monster, capricious and spiteful. In their home country, they are known for luring their unsuspecting victims to their doom, but this one seems to be playing a somewhat deeper game.

The wine had turned sour in Cheng's stomach. "A fox-demon? But... Master, this one does not understand. The woman was not a monster. She was... demanding, but she wasn't cruel. And she left. She left, and I was undamaged, only... tired. Why would she do that, if she was one of these terrible beasts?"

Jin sipped carefully from his own cup. "Most Malevolent beasts are nonmagical. The corrupt magic of the Malevolence sustains them and protects them, but they cannot shape it. The lissa, on the other hand, are mages, after a fashion." Jin considered Cheng for another moment as if weighing how much to say, then refilled Cheng's cup again. "She laid a spell in you. Like an egg, it waits, and I am not entirely certain what its purpose is, though I can make some guesses."

Will Cheng and Jin be able to discover her purpose before she can complete her mission?

A Foxy Good Morning!

Hello there!

My name is Elizabeth L. Brooks. I am probably better known to Torquere Press authors as the Sip editor than as a writer, but I delight in maintaining a large hat collection -- and among them, occasionally dusty, is my author's hat!

I'm here on the blog today to squee a bit about my newest release, Foxfur, a fantasy story about a slave and a mage. It's my first novel-length publication (though not quite long enough for print, alas), and possibly one of my very favorite stories. So let's just start out simple, with the blurb and the absolutely gorgeous cover:

Pleasure-slave Cheng takes no particular note of the red-haired woman when she purchases his services. But the morning after her departure, Cheng is taken into custody by the Emperor's own guards and brought before one of the rare and terrifying Chained Mages. Already frightened and confused, things go from bad to worse for Cheng when the mage reveals the demonic nature of the red-haired woman. Now not only Cheng's life, but the lives of everyone around him, depend on their finding the fox-demon as soon as possible.

As a Chained Mage, Jin is at best feared, and at worst, despised. But he can't allow his personal feelings to interfere with his mission, not even when his admiration for the slave deepens. In fact, Jin's love may result in a disaster. The fox-demon has placed a spell in Cheng, a spell designed to turn his sexual energy to a murderous ends, endangering himself and everyone around him. And worst of all, they're not the only hunters on the fox-demon's trail!

Is that cover not gorgeous? A million kisses blown to the artist, Brandon.

I'll be back soon to tell you a little more and toss in an excerpt or two!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Love Immortalized In The Stars

Ever since I was a young girl I was fascinated with mythology. There was something magical and special about the legends of Heracles, Achilles, Perseus, and Odysseus. I would spend hours reading books about the Greek pantheon. I cannot recall how many times I have watched the first Clash of the Titans movie. More times than a grown woman should, that`s for sure. I am a huge fan of Edith Hamilton, and use her novels as some writers use a dictionary or a thesaurus. It always struck me as sad that some people couldn`t enjoy mythology as I did, but given how it`s presented in classrooms from elementary school through college, it`s no wonder so many hate Greek mythology.

I`ve tried, through my writing, to bring the gods to life. I`ve gone in and blown the dust bunnies off Zeus` marble nose and ran my Swiffer over Hera`s peacock feather fan. With Love of the Hunter, my M/M mythological romance, I`ve taken things a step further and have rewritten one of the classic Greek legends. In this book you will see how Apollo, the most Greek of all the gods, meets and falls in love with Orion, the famed archer. This new adult romance is a dramatic one, make no mistake. There is a reason they call these tales Greek tragedies. Love of the Hunter is filled with pain and suffering, but the sadness is tempered with a love so deep it was immortalized in the heavens forever.

Here`s a small sample from Love of the Hunter-


“You are a shameful man!” Orion glowers then gives me another shove. I fling out an arm to block him lest he strike out again. The man is strong, and his punches rock me soundly. “What possesses you to speak to your sister – your twin – in such a reprehensible manner?”

“What is said between her and I is not your concern!” I yell in his face then stalk past him, my shoulder meeting his. Orion grunts. I do not, although the contact pained me badly. My cape snaps around my ankles as I enter my bedchamber. My lover follows me. The wolves leave in the face of my anger. The door slams shut. I rip my cape from my shoulders and throw it to the corner. Turning, I come nose to nose with Orion. Undaunted and brazen my lover is. That is why he stood and fought Helios instead of begging forgiveness.

“What is said between you and her is my concern for it centers on me!” he shouts, his green eyes alive with his ire.

“So you defend this sick attraction she has for you? Why?” I demand to know. “Are you fucking her? Is that why?”

I let him hit me. I see the huge fist coming, and I allow it. The crunch of my nose breaking is liberating. Golden ichor gushes from my nostrils. I fall back into the wall, my arms getting caught in the thick teal drapery that hangs from the posts of the bed. I grasp a post for balance. My tongue darts out to catch a bit of the godly blood flowing down over my lips and chin.

I find Orion staring at me as if horrified.

“Apollo,” he pants, his meaty fist dangling by his thigh.

“Nay,” I cough, swallow, and then grab the curtain up to run it under my nose. The flow will stop in a moment; I am a god after all. “You did well. There are times that I require a sound punch to the face.”

“I will not hear you speak of Artemis so.” Orion steps closer. I hold the drapery tightly to my face, my eyes watery as I peek over the bloody material covering my nose and mouth. “She has been a veritable blessing during the long hours that you are gone. She tends my back, brings me well-cooked game, sings and laughs with me. She tells me stories and washes my hair.”

“She loves you, Orion.” I raise the drapery back to my nose.

He stares at me dully. He blinks at me as if I had just said something incomprehensible. “Nay,” he says, his eyes leaping from me to his feet then to me again. He shakes his head.

“Aye,” I mumble into the material over my face.

“Nay, she is naught but a sister to me,” he says.

I drop the teal silk. A small trickle is all that remains of the bloody nose. “That is how you see her. It is not how see looks upon you,” I tell him gently. I fear a feather landing on him would send him to the floor.

He drops to the end of the bed. The thick mattress compresses under his massive body. I sit down beside him. We both stare at our feet. I sniffle occasionally.

“Orion, she has loved you for quite some time. Do you not recall her saying she had watched you before meeting you? I know her -- she is smitten.”

“But she knows I am your lover,” he mutters. I sit straighter and glance over at him.

“Yes, she does.” I reach over to take the hands hanging like dead fish over his knees in mine. “And that I cannot abide. You are mine. I will not share you with anyone. I will not allow her infatuation with you to grow. I should have been firmer about it before this, but I worried about leaving you here sickly and alone.”

“You do not need worry for me,” he says, bristling at the jab at his masculinity. I squeeze his hands.

“Orion, you are still pale. Even if you were returned to robust health, I would worry when you were gone from my side,” I tell him, lifting his hands to my lips. I kiss each scarred knuckle. His jade eyes rise from his feet to meet mine. “Look upon our hands,” I say, rolling his over then showing him mine. “I have no scars upon me. You do.” I press my lips against a raised white welt that runs across the back of his right hand. “You are only half god. Your blood is not gold, it is red. Death will come for you and take you from me. This is unavoidable. So I worry. I will worry each time I cannot place my sight upon you. It is not a slur against your manhood or virility, it is simply the knowledge that I cannot die and you can. I would postpone your demise as long as I possibly can.”

“Your tongue is gilded and golden, Apollo,” he smiles weakly. “How does a man talk a man who just hit him in the face from his anger? How do you make me long for nothing aside from being in your arms?”

“I am the god of poetry and rhyme, my love,” I counter seeing his gaze shift from my mouth to my amber eyes. I nod.

He leans in to capture my mouth. We fall back onto the bed, our mouths moving over each other’s slowly. We lay side by side, kissing, exploring, touching and cupping, stroking and teasing. We strip each other slowly, kissing each exposure of flesh.

You can pick up your copy of Love of the Hunter here at the Torquere Press website-

Yours in love and laughter,
V.L. Locey


I love to meet new friends and fans! You can find me at-

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Author Extra: Moon of the Goddess by Cathy Hird

Moon of the Goddess by Cathy Hird

Thalassai, pampered princess of ancient Tiryns, wakes from a dream and
discovers she has been kidnapped. Her fear grows to terror when she realizes
her kidnappers intemd to use her as a pawn to gain Poseidon?s aid for their
valley. The mother goddess, who in the past sustained the valley, calls a
bloodred harvest moon into the spring sky. She will challenge Poseidon for
the allegiance of her people and assist the princess.

Thalassai?s brother Melanion rides north to rescue her, and finds allies
among the servants of the goddess. Slowed by bandits, Melanion is forced to
take a tunnel under the mountains even though earthquakes have rendered it
hazardous. He skirts the edge of Hades? kingdom as he races to reach his
sister in time. Caught between the mother goddess and the rising power of
Olympus, will Thalassai break under the strain or find the strength she
needs to stand up to her captors?

Set in the days of Helen of Troy and the great heroes of Greece, this story
takes the reader on a fast paced journey across the sun-drenched landscape
of Homer and deep into darkness.

buy link:

Author Extra:

Panacea walked barefoot across the sand. The waves of the Gulf of Corinth
lapped gently, and she let the warm water wash over her tired feet. She did
not remember the last time she felt this tired. 

Or this frustrated. What am I doing racing across Greece with this prince
and his companion? 

She knew the answer to her own question. The mother goddess had placed a
bloodred moon in the sky, a warning of danger that everyone in the shrine
could read. So, because she was the best rider among the goddess?s servants,
she was the one chosen to join the quest of the prince Melanion to rescue
his kidnapped sister. 

Panacea felt the eyes of the men on her back. They had not wanted to take
her along, confident of their own power as they were. Melanion also seemed 
suspicious because her father Asclepius was an Olympian god. But her father
had turned to the Mother long ago, and left behind the ambitions of the gods
and goddesses of Olympus. He had taught her to follow the ancient patterns
of the earth. 

If only my father had left me enough connection to know what is happening!
No point in wishing. He had severed those ties thoroughly, and she had no
way to know what danger she rode toward at this headlong pace. 

Panacea massaged her sore shoulder. Her mare Nalia kept up with the
stallions of the men just fine, but as much as she loved her white horse,
neither of them had made a journey like this at speed. Her muscles ached,
and there were blisters on her thighs. The blisters she would rub with a
special ointment when she returned to the fire, and they would be gone by
morning. The muscles would take longer, but she knew they would get better
each day. 

A single wave pushed over her feet and up her ankles. She looked down and
wondered if the rising tide was a sign. Surely it was not an omen that
events would overwhelm the captured girl. 

Mother, goddess of the red moon, what is the danger we race toward? 

She closed her eyes and felt for the presence of the goddess. The voices of
the men came toward her on the light breeze though she could not hear what
they said. 

The prince is so short sighted, concerned only about his sister. She
corrected herself. He was focused on what had happened to her, but he also
saw the danger if his city of Tiryns went to war on the city the kidnappers
came from. He wanted to prevent wide spread conflict. That she appreciated.
These days, most of the leaders of the cities of Greece put ambition and
pride above all else. 

Panacea pushed the sound of voices aside and focused her thoughts on the
goddess. Another wave lapped around her ankles, and she sensed gentle
laughter, a call to open her eyes.

The edge of the moon had risen above the water and a silver-bright arrow of
light ran straight across the waves to her feet. 

I have been chosen, she thought. For whatever reason, I need to make this
journey. Tiredness flowed from her feet as if washed away by the moving
water. The choice to join this quest had been right, and if she kept
connected to the goddess, the next choice would come to her. 

The words of hymn to the goddess came to her, and she raised her arms.
Singing would help her focus. And help her sleep. She was going to need all
her strength on this journey into unknown danger.