Hello everyone! Today I am so excited to welcome back the fabulous Heidi Cullinan to the blog. Heidi is here to talk to us about her new release, Miles and the Magic Flute. She is sharing an exclusive excerpt and has a great giveaway. So please join me in giving her a big welcome!
The Emperor caught Miles with a graceful strength which, combined with the summer-fresh scent of him, made Miles shudder, but not with fear. It had been a long, long time since a man had held him in his arms, and the fact that the Emperor was pretty much extracted from his libido’s idea of Perfect Male only heightened Miles’s awareness and filled him with a primal sort of need. His hands, which were caught between their chests, turned of their own will so his fingers could dig into the soft material of the Emperor’s vest.
“I am flattered,” the man said in a patient, amused voice, “but I am not, I must tell you, an emperor.”
Miles drew back and looked up at the man in surprise. “How—I didn’t say anything—!”
The man looked amused. “But this can’t be happening, as you say. If I’m not real, then it’s nothing, is it, to peek inside your mind. I can hear everything you’re thinking, Miles. Everything.” His smile darkened, and he ran a finger down Miles’s cheek, sliding it over to catch the edge of his bottom lip. “Though I admit I like the idea of being your emperor. If I were, I could make you do whatever I wanted.”
The finger at Miles’s lip tugged insistently at the flesh, and Miles parted his lips. This can’t be happening, he thought again, and the man smiled, reading the thought.
“Yes. It’s just a dream. Give yourself to the dream, Miles.”
Miles wanted to. If this was a dream, it was the most vivid, wonderful dream he’d ever had. Whoever this man was, he was gorgeous. He was wickedly charming, too, which Miles had never been able to resist. This man wanted Miles. He was handsome, clean, wicked, and tugging at Miles’s bottom lip. Oh, God, but Miles wanted to lie down right there and present his body as an offering.
The man’s eyes darkened. “How readily we progress.” His finger fell away from Miles’s mouth, but then the man’s whole hand rested over the center of Miles’s chest. He gazed upon Miles with a thoughtful expression. “Would you truly offer yourself to me so quickly?”
It’s just a dream, Miles told himself. But something in the man’s face made him pause. What was going on here, anyway? What was all this? Who was this guy, subconscious or no? How had Miles ended up in the forest when he’d been heading toward town?
As if his hesitation were a doorway, Miles felt the air shift around him, and in the distance he heard the clicking hooves begin again. He tensed, and to his surprise, so did his companion.
Except his companion was angry, not afraid. He glared, his upper lip curling into a sneer. “Oh, no you don’t,” he said, his voice soft and dangerous. Then he drew Miles up against his side. “Come, Miles. It’s time we were away.”
“Away where?” Miles followed the man’s gaze off into the forest, but he didn’t see anything. Yet he could feel the beast coming toward them, and he pressed harder up against the man’s side.
“So many questions.” The man leaned forward slightly to catch the silver ribbons that served as reins. He clicked his tongue, and after the horses tossed their heads, they began to walk forward, dragging the sleigh behind them.
Miles frowned down at the ground. “This is never going to work. There isn’t any snow—”
He cut himself off as the horses began to move faster, and as if it were the sort of thing that happened every day, the sleigh lifted effortlessly off the ground.
They were traveling, Miles realized with a strangely sick feeling in his stomach, several inches above the undergrowth of the forest. The horses still advanced with some acknowledgment to gravity, but even that, he realized, was subject to some question. Their hooves hit the ground, but when the ground dipped too low or became too rocky, they rode on the same invisible highway as the sleigh. It was impossible. It couldn’t happen. But it was.
“Poor Miles.” The man stroked Miles’s hair. “Just lie back and let me take care of you. Soon we’ll be somewhere very pleasant, and all of this will just be a bad memory.”
The horses were moving even faster now, so fast that Miles thought he was going to be sick. But when he settled into the man’s shoulder, his stomach calmed down.
He couldn’t keep thinking of Terris as the man.
“You may call me Terris,” the man said gently, but even at his gentlest, there was no erasing the wickedness beneath his silky undertone.
Terris. The name was familiar, and Miles brain raced to remember why. Then he recalled the website and the darkness that had come when he clicked on it. Miles drew back to the edge of the sleigh, cold with terror.
As soon as he was away from the warm shelter of Terris’s arms, he felt the hot breath of the beast against his neck, felt the dank cold of the marble dungeon closing around him—
He cried out as Terris yanked him back against his body, and this time Miles didn’t fight him. “What’s happening? I don’t understand—if this is a dream, I want to wake up.”
“You’re straddling two worlds.” Terris’s voice was curt and clipped. “You’ve drawn him in as well as me, but I warn you, Miles, he who chases you and I cannot live together.” He looked behind the sleigh, and he murmured bitterly beneath his breath in a language Miles didn’t know. “You must banish him, darling. Send him away, so we may be in peace.”
Miles lifted his head from Terris’s shoulder and looked behind the sleigh. And cried out in terror.
The Devil was chasing them. It was a great horned beast, full of hair and hooves, and it ran straight for Miles, keeping up with the sleigh and gaining. It was naked, and between its legs hung a cock as big as a child’s arm, framed by huge, hairy ball sacs. But it had a human’s face, visible even as it was shrouded by overgrown beard and eyebrows. The body was the most menacing thing Miles had ever seen.
The face was heartbreaking.
“Send him away,” Terris said, his voice a gentle command. His hand slid up Miles’s thigh. “Send him away, or he’ll catch us, and then I will have to go. And if I leave, someone much worse than either of us will come for you.”
“There’s another monster?”
“This place is full of strange creatures, but there are only three of us interested in you right now. Only one of us can have you. Whom do you wish to claim you, Miles?”
Miles watched the hooves of the beast hammer into the ground, watched that heavy cock sway like a weapon, and he shrank a little closer to Terris. He couldn’t even let himself think about this third person. But it wasn’t just terror staying him—the face of the beast chasing the sleigh kept drawing him back.
“What happened to him?” Miles asked.
“He chose to get out of the sleigh.”
When unemployed Miles Larson retreats to his friend’s Minnesota pawnshop to lick his wounds, he discovers that a few notes on a magical instrument reveal an erotic fairyland where the sorrows weighing on his heart don’t exist at all.
Yet fantasy comes with a price, and soon Miles must choose a path. He can surrender his soul to the dreamlord to sustain his pleasure… or he can defeat the faerie and save the mysterious beast-man who promises love. Miles would choose love over pleasure in a heartbeat—if only to seize it he didn’t first have to acknowledge the pain inside.
Is Miles strong enough to learn that sometimes to find happiness, we must face down our sorrows?
This title has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.
Heidi has brought a copy of Miles and the Magic Flute to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Saturday, May 31 at 11:59 pm EST.
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