Tales of Amaranth: Dark Heart

Thom Lane

In Amaranth, the Wayfarers' Guild attracts all kinds of custom. When Lucan the mage walks into the stable yard with a lame horse in the rain, slave boy Tam runs to serve him -- and soon Tam wants to do nothing else. Ever. Lucan...
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In Amaranth, the Wayfarers' Guild attracts all kinds of custom. When Lucan the mage walks into the stable yard with a lame horse in the rain, slave boy Tam runs to serve him -- and soon Tam wants to do nothing else. Ever.

Lucan is demanding, ruthless, devastating, in bed and out: everything Tam ever yearned for in a master. He's also master of the darkest arts, and not blind to Tam's feelings, but heedless of them. Why would a free man care how a slave feels?

When Tam's mistress asks for the mage's help because the guild is under attack, Master Lucan finds other uses for Tam: as a guide to the city, as payment to a demon in hell. But when he doesn't come back to the guildhouse one night, Tam knows the great man is in trouble - and only an insignificant slave boy can save him...

  • Note:This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM themes and content, male/male sexual practices.
Master Lucan, it was obvious, would demand no less.

Even before I’d closed the door of the gatehouse room behind us, he was already stripping off his jacket and dropping it to the floor, tugging his shirt over his head, sparing me just one swift glance and one barked word: “Towel?”

“Of course…”

I fetched one from the linen press and held it out to him, but he simply turned his back.

His hair was dark and crisp, close-cropped and sodden. I rubbed at it tentatively; he grunted and said, “Harder, boy.”

“Yes, Master.”

Vigorously, then, his head between my hands; I felt the not-quite-roundness of his skull through the muffle of the towel and suddenly wanted to be exploring that same territory with my fingers, just my skin and his hair and nothing to interfere between them.

Swallowed the desire, moved the towel and my attention downwards.

That didn’t help. His shoulders were broad, his back was long and leanly muscled, leaning into the pressure of my hands. This time, when he wanted it harder, that was all for the pleasure of rough contact. I knew; I could tell from the way he worked his shoulder blades.

Mages are men and women of the half-world, all cobweb and shadow, threatening and scary. This close, though, Master Lucan smelled all man; and felt it too, dangerous and exciting beneath my hands. I almost forgot to be scared. Not quite, because slaves never do quite forget, and if we did the collar’s weight around our necks would remind us. By the time he turned to face me, though, it was his hands and strength and temper I was scared of, not his powers: the master, not the mage. As it should be.

I dried his chest and arms, feeling the firm resilience of his skin, the hard-trained muscles beneath. I ached to drop the towel and just be skin on skin with him; more than ached, I could feel my cock growing stiff beneath my tunic. In hopes he wouldn’t notice, I muttered, “This towel’s damp, let me fetch another…”

He stayed me with a hand on my waist. Had he noticed already? I glanced up, and there was no anger in his eyes, only the snap of that relentless impatience.

“It’s still drier than I am. Get my boots off, will you?”

“Of course, Master…”

It was a relief to drop to my knees, to drop the towel in my lap to hide my hard-on while I hoped for it to ebb away. Wet leather isn’t a turn-on for me, the way wet man can be.

Wet man with his long wet fingers suddenly in my hair, balancing himself while he lifted one foot for me to slip his boot off.

One foot and then the other, and I was quite used to that kind of casual contempt, being used however was convenient to Master. Of course I was; I was slave.

I was used to this too, the way his fingers stayed in my hair, played with it, even once I’d set his boots aside. That didn’t do my erection any good, at least not if I wanted it to go away. He laughed abruptly, clipped the side of my head, and unbuckled his belt.

I can take a hint. My hands went to the sodden laces of his trousers and loosed them carefully. I was aware of the weight of his cock within, just as I was of my own, throbbing again beneath the towel; I just wasn’t quite ready for the way his sprang out at me, as soon as it was free. Dark with blood, long and straight and tapered, thick at the root but sweetly rounded at the tip…

It was instinct, only instinct that made me catch the tip of it lightly in my mouth, with just a hint of teeth.

For a moment, I had him. He was entirely still, and I could hold him, the size and touch and taste of him right there in my mouth, musk and salt and mastery, the flavour of a man.

Reluctantly, then, I turned the focus of that moment into a kiss and let him go, dropped my head and worked his wet trousers down slowly off his wet legs. What happened next was up to him; he was Master here. Some guests I’d known would give me a whipping for impertinence; some would toss me onto the bed and fuck me without a word.

No point even trying to hide my own erection, now that I’d seen his. Seen it, kissed it, made an issue of it. I probably deserved that whipping. And him so ill-tempered, soaked and delayed in his intentions; he wasn’t likely to pass up such insolent familiarity.

Nor did he. His hand closed in my hair again; he kept a switch in a sheath on his boot, where I’d set it just a bend and a stretch away, and I thought he’d work out his temper on my hide. If he didn’t have other, worse ways to punish a boy. I’d never seen magic done, but all my life had been full of stories about the dark gifts of mages, how cruel and vengeful they could be…

All he did, though, he pulled my head back to his proud cock. His thumb caressed my temple in a lazy gesture that made me shiver all through; he said, “Lips and tongue and mouth, lad, nothing more. No hands, I’m not a cow for you to be milking. And if I feel those teeth again --”

He didn’t say what would happen, but his fingers flicked my ear stingingly, like a promise.

“Yes, Master…”

Copyright © Thom Lane


Customer Reviews

good read Review by Cristina
A book I couldnĀ“t put down until the end - the PC are real enough and the background good. (Posted on 11/11/2016)
another excellent short story Review by anne
I love the master salve genre and this satisfies. The world building of Amaranth is excellent, and the reality of slavery is embedded in the culture. No sugar and roses HEA, but a HFN rooted in the realities of a culture with out equality or any sense of fairness or justice. Slaves hope, with no power to seek, and love and affection come with no power to hold on beyond the whim of the master...affection still carries a whip. (Posted on 2/19/2016)
Loved it! Review by Rachael
I really enjoyed this book and the elements of domination made it even more of a sweltering read! (Posted on 12/26/2014)
High Quality Fantasy Review by Charlie
What's not to love? Powerful dark Master mage and a quick-witted and willing slave-boy, who knows who he wants to belong to. More significantly, rich and well-rounded world-building of a society that includes both magic and slavery in ways that are utterly convincing and a solid plot that allows space for the developing romance and plenty of hot D/s action. Definitely one of my favourite authors and books and probably my favourite characters of the series. (Posted on 11/16/2013)

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