Sweeter than strawberry, darker than blackberry, better than please.
Son of the Wood God, son of a mortal woman, Myrddin has lived a carefree life for sixty years. Now, with his mother dead, the wilderness that has sustained him is an overflowing well of powers he can no longer control. Sent by his father to seek someone who can help him, the one Myrddin finds is a nameless stranger, whom he calls Kas.
Kas, so named, is still what his nature demands he be. He is Death—its essence and its king…its master, and its open gate. Since the first death that came into this world, he has been alone, essential and solitary—until Myrddin. For his sake, Kas aids in building the Rite of Spring, and in the process learns love…and loneliness.
Between life and death, want and need, there is just enough space for a new beginning. The question is how it continues—and whether it ends.
Publisher's Note: This book is linked to the Eight Kingdoms series.
General Release Date: 29th March 2016
The nights were growing chill, but the change of the autumn foliage had turned the river valley into a sea of flames. Leaves fell like sparks, browned the underbrush and bared the branches of the wood, but not only the canopy was failing. On a bier in the open, breathing slowly and quietly, Myrddin’s mother, the old chief’s daughter, lay dying.
“Mother, you can’t go!”
“Oh, it’s time. It’s past time, Myrddin. Look at you, my little shoot. You don’t change any more, but you’ve grown, and your mother is old and only a woman. Now is my time.”
Myrddin gripped her fingers tightly. The lines of her face were smooth, but worn, and her hand was limp in his grasp. The only brightness left in her was in the green shimmer of her gaze. Already he could feel her slipping away.
He supposed he should be grateful it was happening now, at the end of autumn, and not when he’d already begun his winter sleep. But how could he be? Grateful. He could have hated it—her dying—if she didn’t look so much like she was letting go of something heavy that she’d carried for far too long.
It was still agonizing to watch.
Why did death have to come so gently? Like a fall of rain—like falling asleep after making love. Myrddin could have hated it, except that she welcomed its coming.
“You’re going where I can’t follow, Mother. I won’t have anyone if you…when you die.”
She laughed, or at least she made a sound that was something like it, and he winced. “You have to learn to let go. Let it be. We’re all mortal, aren’t we? Yes, all of us but you. And you…my son, if you can’t learn to let us go, you’ll have no companion but pain, and that’s…not…what I wanted for you.”
Red leaves fell onto the furs that covered her, then mingled with her hair as she tried to lift her head. One descended lightly into the spread-open fingers of her unclasped hand, and she smiled. “You’ll have to learn. You will, won’t you? Promise me you will.”
“Good boy. Now, let them bring me where I want to go.”
Myrddin lifted his gaze. Her bearers were already waiting around them, their eyes averted from the final parting of mother and son. “Mother. You don’t have to do this. What good is it to just—”
“I want to die where it began. That’s all. For you, and for me. Won’t you come with me? I won’t make a journey in this world again.”
He stared at her, almost shook his head, then squeezed her fingers and let go. “I’ll be watching. I can’t… I’ll just…be watching.”
She sighed, reached up and patted his cheek with her free hand, and the bearers came forward and took up her bier with careful hands. His mother’s fingers slipped out of Myrddin’s grip, and he stepped back, and back, watched her go into the forest then turned and fled up the side of the valley. The sun was setting, and the evening came full of swallowing shadows that he followed along the ridge above the crest of the valley.
He couldn’t stand it, couldn’t bear it, but he was equally incapable of avoiding it, of denying her or leaving her behind. Even at a distance, even in darkness, he could see the cortege accompanying his mother’s body, heard the wails of the tribe’s women as they fell in line behind. He wanted to go to her, stand with her, wait until the end, but he couldn’t do it. Not this.
Word Count: 21,815
Book Length: NOVELLA
Genres: EROTIC ROMANCE
Belinda currently lives on the New England coast with her fiancée, their room mate and her cat. When she's not writing, she's working toward degrees in Philosophy and English, embroidering or reading.
Belinda writes in several genres, but a little lust and love always work their way into her stories.
Reviewed by The Jeep Diva
This M/M romance was just the thing I needed to get me addicted to Miss Burke. This gives you just enough to want to read where the premise of Deathless come from. Eight Kingdoms will be added to my...
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Reviewed by Boy Meets Boy Reviews
This story was beautiful in it’s descriptive text. The author did a fabulous job of showing me this fantasy world.
It gave me a feeling of being out in the wild, and the landscape transla...
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