Today I am so pleased to welcome Kayla Jameth to Joyfully Jay. Kayla has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, A Shared Love. She has also brought along two copies to give away. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a trio of young men from A Shared Love, a story of ancient Greece set at the beginning of the 5th century BC. Apollo is gathering men to serve him in the upcoming battle for Greece.
Theron is a kryptes, a special warrior who is fated to be the best of the best. He’s destined to lead the other members of his agélai, or herd.
His shield-brother, Coridan, isn’t one of the elite warriors. He was destined to follow his brothers until Lysander died and broke his destiny. Now he lives to serve Lord Apollo and earn back his place next to his lover for all eternity.
Andreas never intended to be more than a helot. His destiny consisted of feeding and providing for his Spartiate. Until, another warrior has marked him for death.
Now all three must flee Sparta, hoping to find a future in Delphi in the service of Apollo.
The men have left Sparta behind, but still have to pursue a life in Lord Apollo’s service. Many hazards stand in their way to prevent their success.
Coridan leaned back and watched Andreas cook. Everything the man attempted smelled delightful. How was it possible for one man to create food that smelt so good? Not just once, but every time?
Andreas added something to the pot and covered it to simmer.
“Done for a while?” Theron asked.
“For now. The lentils will need to cook a little longer.”
“Good. Grab your blade. We have some time for practice before dinner.”
With a groan, Andreas levered himself up. He didn’t exactly appear enthused. Coridan still couldn’t figure out why Theron was coddling him.
“Take your stance.” Theron waited while Andreas settled into a slight crouch.
His form looked a lot better than it had a few days ago. So far you couldn’t tell he had a lot of work to do before he’d be considered competent.
Theron stepped forward and there it was—an opening Andreas hadn’t noticed. Without a pause, Theron took advantage and at the last instant, struck Andreas with the back of his blade.
“How did you do that?” Andreas demanded, rubbing the sting away.
“Take your stance.” Theron waited for him.
Coridan watched as Theron sent Andreas through his paces again. The helot was still clumsy, but seemed to have improved over the past few days. He moved with more subtly and confidence, achieving more with less effort than he had just few days ago.
Coridan studied them. Theron was treating him like an equal. Why? They were nothing of the sort. How could they be?
Theron had been training for over a decade. Even Spartans had trouble emulating him. How could a lowly helot hope to venture as much?
Staring, Coridan wondered when Theron had started treating Andreas as an equal. They weren’t even close to the same stature. Very few warriors could match a kryptes in anything. Even Coridan couldn’t claim that status.
Was he allowing that to taint his judgement?
Possibly. No one was the equal of a Spartan.
Except maybe this helot, given enough time and training with Theron.
Coridan watched him closely. Andreas wasn’t the equal of any of the other men Coridan had trained with. Might never be, but he was learning from Theron. There was no way to tell how much he’d learn.
He was still making easy mistakes. Holding his knife too tightly. Not giving himself the space he needed to turn. Holding back too long and missing his opportunity. All things that could be dealt with over time.
As much as Coridan hated to admit it, he still occasionally mistimed strikes against unfamiliar opponents. But he prided himself that against any of his shield-brothers, he rarely missed.
Andreas couldn’t say the same. But with time and training he might, especially with Theron as his instructor.
With a twist of his knife, Theron disengaged, but not before Andreas nicked his forearm.
“Good job!” Theron praised him while Andreas tried to see the wound. “I’m all right.”
“I’m fine. Just let me wash this up. That little nick won’t even leave a scar.”
Andreas grabbed Theron’s arm and washed the tiny wound. Coridan imagined the cut had stopped bleeding by now, despite Andreas scrubbing at the nick.
Once he appeared satisfied, Theron admitted defeat and sheathed his own knife.
“Is dinner done yet?” Theron queried.
Removing the lid, Andreas peered in the pot. “Nearly. Just a little longer.”
Coridan watched the other two work around one another to achieve a goal. Theron offered support, while Andreas supplied the knowledge. Between them, they could achieve more than they would have separately.
It was still strange to see. For once, Theron wasn’t leading. Instead, he followed Andreas. Coridan had difficulty reconciling Theron’s behavior. No longer the guide, he’d given that place to Andreas. Now Theron accepted Andreas’ lead, helping with the tasks.
“Hey! It’s ready.” Theron’s words broke through his musings, taking Coridan by surprise.
Coridan looked up and accepted the bowl of lentils topped with a golden round on bread.
“Sorry, I was thinking,” Coridan said.
“Don’t worry. We’ll take care of you.” Theron smirked.
Coridan shook his head. “Care to wrestle to see who gets to eat?” he threatened.
“All right you two. Eat,” Andreas grumped before Theron could add his own comments.
Raising his bowl in salute, Coridan took a taste. Lentils flavored with venison. Better than anything his mother had ever made.
He could see how Andreas was advantageous to have around. Maybe he’d learn to understand the role Andreas played in Apollo’s service. Until then, he’d eat the food and watch him grow.
I hope you enjoyed this look into Coridan’s thoughts. He’s a more complex character than I have the chance to explore in this book. Don’t worry. He gets his own story.
Joyfully Jay will take everyone’s comments as an entry and choose two winners.
Once a warrior, now a fugitive.
Spartan fighter Theron has done the unthinkable—he’s disobeyed orders and fled Sparta. All for his helot lover, Andreas. They can run, or they can die.
They’ve sworn oaths to Apollo; now their future lies in the god’s sacred city. The road to Delphi runs through treacherous wilderness, filled with vengeful warriors, greedy bandits, and savage creatures. Nor are the cities safe for strangers wearing the red cloaks of the Spartan military.
Once slated for execution at Theron’s hand, Andreas finds it hard to trust the man who betrayed him. Forgiving Theron grows easier for Andreas with every step they take. He isn’t ready to trust Theron with his heart again—but remembering why is getting harder and harder.
A god’s scheming places a fellow exile in their path, Theron’s shield-brother Coridan. Still reeling from his own tragedy, Coridan could be the force that tears them apart forever, or who brings them together in Apollo’s service.
Three different men, three different pasts, who must unite in a common destiny.
If they can survive.
Rainbow Award author, Kayla Jameth grew up on the family farm in Ohio. An unrepentant tomboy, she baled hay, raised cattle, and her father taught her to weld before she graduated from high school.
She attended Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University and later, Texas A&M University in her pursuit of veterinary medicine, taking her far away from her rural roots.
But it wasn’t all hard work for her, her sojourn as the princess of the Celestial Kingdom left her with the title “Sir” and a costume closet the envy of many knights, lords, and ladies.
After declaring for years that she was not an author, Kayla now finds herself writing m/m erotic romance outside of Houston, Texas. While you can take the girl out of the country, you can’t turn her into a city slicker. Kayla would still rather be outside getting down and dirty with the boys.
She shares a full house with her favorite animals: a dog, a cat, three guinea pigs, as well as her husband, son, and daughter.
Kayla has brought two copies of A Shared Love to give away to two lucky readers. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Sunday, September 10th at 11:59 pm EST.
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