A lost soul. A forbidden love. Between them stands a mad god...
Mikon lives a simple life leading trade caravans and taking care of his brother. His newest caravan is headed through the Deadlands, transporting prisoners taken by the Tacartian army. The prisoners are the legendary warriors known as the Masaari, led by the unforgettable Satarin. Powerful. Beautiful. Dangerous. But when a magic-driven sandstorm strikes and the prisoners escape, Mikon is captured and taken into the desert to the secret home of the Masaari. There he will face a test unlike any other. Is he the soul of Kei, the lover of a god? Or is he only Mikon...the simple man who can't get Satarin out of his mind?
As The Chosen, Satarin has a duty to yield up his body to the god Janizar so the god might indulge in carnal pleasures. In order to get his people home, Satarin is willing to make any sacrifice. Now, in Mikon, the Masaari finally have the soul their god yearns for. Only the god is in love with a lie, and the new Mikon is slowly capturing Satarin's heart.
As Satarin struggles to protect both his people and Mikon, the god soon wants more. Janizar demands Satarin give up everything, his body and his mind, losing Mikon forever so Kei might return. Defiance will lead to death, but how can Satarin deny the desire burning in his soul...?
**Newly revised and expanded by the author! Enjoy the unforgettable tale of love between Mikon and Satarin**
Contains intense emotional elements. Reader discretion advised.
CHAPTER ONEThe marketplace teemed with people, each of them jostling for space as they attempted to reach their destinations, the sound of haggling rising in the heat of midday. The tide of humanity flowed past the two men, ignoring their obvious argument.Mikon glared at his brother, fingering the hilt of his dagger. “I swear, if this turns out like the last job…”Jakob smiled, spreading his hands wide. “This is through Cerdan. You know he is trustworthy.”Mikon grunted. “Cerdan, I trust. You, I do not.”Jakob tried wheedling, mixed with a hurt look. “And me, your little brother, having done nothing but look up to you, follow you—”“Get me in nothing but trouble.” Mikon knew Jakob all too well, and conflict followed his little brother like a bad smell. He folded his arms over his chest and frowned, wondering why he was even considering this nonsense.Because he was broke. That was why. His frown deepened.Jakob piped up again. “They had heard of you, knew you were a good caravan master. I hardly had to persuade them.” His brother looked up at him pleadingly, hazel eyes wide. Mikon sighed. Jakob grinned and rubbed his hands.“Right then. We meet up with the caravan at the town of Relpan, and it is a month’s journey across the Deadlands until we reach the city of Tarnaq in Sespay. Easy.”Mikon rolled his eyes. “It might have been, until you said that. Now every god within earshot is going to be acting against us. Keep your damn mouth closed.”Jakob pouted. “I found us a job.”Mikon caved, laying a hand on his brother’s shoulder. The kid had far too much confidence already, but Mikon always found himself trying to give him even more. Fool. “I thank you for that. But I still think you are not telling me something.”Jakob cleared his throat. “There will be prisoners.”Mikon scowled for a moment, cautious. “Prisoners? Of what sort?”Jakob shrugged. “Criminals, from what I was told. Masaari.”“How the hell did they capture Masaari? They are the most dangerous bastards I have ever heard of. Never even seen one, but I saw the results of one of their raids on the army once.” He swallowed hard, even his hardened senses cringing at the remembrance of what he had seen that day. “By the gods, Jakob, guarding a caravan that includes Masaari? Do you have a death wish?”Jakob looked at him with the assurance of the very young—and the very inexperienced. “They are in chains.” He grinned. “I will protect you, brother, from the big, bad Masaari.”Mikon cuffed him, though he could not prevent a faint smile from forming at the kid’s cheekiness. And what was he worried about? Jakob was right. The Masaari prisoners would be in chains. They just had to guard them across the Deadlands, get them to Tarnaq, and receive their pay. They would earn better money, since a prisoner caravan always needed an experienced caravan master and paid their worth.Enough to keep them going for a while—as long as they stayed away from their father. The man bled them dry every chance he got with sob stories of lost fortunes and evil women who had fleeced him from his vast savings.Mikon had heard it all, but his nature was to protect those around him and both Jakob and his father had that needy demeanor that seemed to get right past Mikon’s defenses every time.Damn family.He was twenty-five now, time for a family and steady work, yet he always seemed to get caught up in Jakob’s schemes for wealth, rather than see to his own life. He scowled. After this job, he was going to have to put his foot down. It was time to grow up. No more foolish risks such as transporting Masaari. No more chasing easy money that never turned out to be easy.If only that did not seem so grindingly mundane…