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Monday, 26 August 2013

Make me Whole
by Marguerite Labbe
M/M Paranormal Romance/Reincarnation
Dreamspinner Press
103,000 words
Heat Level: 4
Available from allromance

Blurb:


After a grueling battle in ancient Greece, lovers Dexios and Lykon committed their lives to each other in the name of Goddess Cythera. After the war, fearing the strength of his love for Dexios, Lykon abandoned his vow and returned home. Heartbroken, Dexios called on Cythera, who changed him into four unfinished statues. In that form he would wait for his fickle lover to return, break the curse, and make him whole.

Thousands of years have passed when Galen Kanellis finds the disassembled pieces in the storeroom of a Seattle museum and makes them the focus of his new exhibit. Needing information, he contacts his ex-lover Nick Charisteas. Nick has a lifelong dream of finding the Dexios Collection, and the last thing he expected was for it to wind up in the hands of the man who broke his heart. As both men search for answers about the statues, worries of abandonment and fear of loss test their renewed relationship, threatening to separate them again—this time permanently.

Excerpt:
The Vow

The sounds of the encampment surrounded Dexios and Lykon—the snap and crackle of the fires, the soft moans of men pleasuring themselves mixing with the snores of those who grabbed what rest they could. Dexios and Lykon had made their own little sanctuary behind the brush, closer to the shore, wrapped up in their blankets, cloaks, and each other.

Their urgent coupling had erased the fears of the day, yet Dexios was unable to put those fears completely behind him. It intruded upon his thoughts, pushing him to consider the days that would follow. He slid his hand down to Lykon’s muscled stomach and splayed his fingers. In the calm following the day’s battle he found that being near did not seem to be enough. He wanted to be nearer still.

Lykon chuckled, laid his hand over Dexios’s, and twined their fingers together. “You’re restless tonight. Share your mind with me, or is it my touch you seek again?” His voice dropped low with seductive intent as he stretched before settling in Dexios’s arms again, fitting against him as if he belonged there. Dexios held him closer, luxuriating in the warmth of Lykon’s back and the way his buttocks pressed against his groin.

Dexios wanted to ensure Lykon would always be there, and once again his thoughts jerked back to the day’s harrowing battle. Lykon was safe. He was here. Dexios’s arms tightened around him. “Reinforcements will arrive on the morrow,” Dexios said and kissed the side of Lykon’s neck, breathing him in. The blood and sweat had been washed away earlier, replaced with the clean brine of the ocean and Lykon’s own scent. “The fighting will be fierce once the enemy realizes they are cornered. They will not give way without a struggle.”

Lykon twisted to look back at him. “Whether they lay down their arms or continue to fight is of no matter. The outcome will be the same.” He smiled, a slow, sensual upturn of his lips that heated Dexios’s blood. “My sole concern is how many days I have left with you before we are sent home. I want to make the most of every moment.” He kissed Dexios, sliding a hand into his hair. “Come, I do not wish to speak more of battles, not when there are pleasures to explore.”

Dexios shifted and turned Lykon onto his back. The moon shone down on his face, illuminating the strong lines of his jaw and nose. The camp quieted for the night, allowing Dexios to hear the sound of the waves washing against the shore in the distance. Fitting, all things considered, and Dexios prayed that Cythera would hear his words to Lykon and bless them.

“The end of the war does not mean we have to part.” He stared down at Lykon, hovering over him. “I would rather stay by your side.”

Lykon frowned, slid his arm around Dexios’s waist, and pulled his weight down on him. “You do not speak sense. They will expect us back at home. We have duties awaiting us that have been long ignored.”

“Duties that others have taken up while we fought to keep them safe.” Dexios could not deny the want inside of him anymore. Not after the fierce fighting earlier today. Not after seeing Lykon fall and thinking the worst. The vivid memory still chilled him, the image etched behind his eyes of the enemy standing over his lover, spear poised to take his life. Somehow Dexios had found the divine strength to get to him, to stop the blow.

He slid his arms under Lykon, held him close, and reassured himself with the heat of his body. Why was Lykon not bothered by the same memories? Mere moments after his own close encounter with death, Lykon had saved him in return by shoving him out of the way and blocking a lethal strike to Dexios’s unguarded back.

They had both almost died this day. For what? So they could part after their friendship had changed into a relationship far more profound? Dexios loved him. He had not believed himself capable of such deep emotion until he had found Lykon. The fate he wanted for them did not include living apart and never seeing one another.

“What is it you are trying to say?” Lykon pushed him aside and sat up, bracing his hands behind him as he looked at Dexios with his eyebrows drawn together and a slight grimace twisting his lips. “Speak your thoughts plainly. Do you wish for us to join a mercenary unit to find another battle? I have no desire for more bloodshed. We have been fighting for years now. We’ve done what we set out to do. Our families and lands are safe.”

“No more fighting.” Dexios was done with seeing Lykon in danger, of tending to his wounds, and having his own wounds stitched by Lykon. “If we both go home we will not see each other again. At least not often enough for what I want.”

Dexios knelt in front of Lykon. His heart pounded, his chest tightened. “You know what is in my heart, Lykon, how I feel about you. You have said that you feel the same. Is it true?”

Lykon stretched out his hand and cupped Dexios’s jaw. “I do. Don’t doubt that. I do not wish to think of what may happen on the morrow or the day after. You worry too much about the past and the future. Only the here and now matters. Love me here and let me love you in return.”

Dexios closed his eyes and turned his head to kiss Lykon’s calloused palm. He had tried to live in Lykon’s moment, and he thought he had succeeded until today. He could not get the image of the spear out of his head. He had almost lost Lykon earlier. When the war ended he would lose him still. Lose him to his family and the other life that awaited him. It made him ache inside to think so. “I want more. I want a lifetime with you. Say you want the same.”

“I do, but I do not see how we can have it.” Lykon brushed his fingers along Dexios’s jaw. “Our wants are passionate, not practical. We cannot let our hearts rule our minds.”

“Why not?” Dexios set his jaw, opened his eyes, and caught Lykon’s gaze. “We both have younger brothers who have taken up our duties at home, younger brothers who are about to take wives to breed more sons and daughters. Our families would demand too much if we returned home. We will have done our duty when this war ends. Let us find a place where we can be together. A place by the shore all our own.”

“What of our lands, our inheritances? Do you not wish to return home to see your family at least, and let them know you survived?”

“We can let them know together. I will travel with you to your home, and then we can visit my family one last time. I do not care for either lands or inheritances if you are not with me. We will be rewarded with many riches when the enemy is routed. We can use that coin to start over.”

“You ask much.” Lykon angled his body away and the uncertainty on his face made Dexios’s stomach clench. “I had not given thought to abandoning everything.”

“Not everything.” Dexios cupped Lykon’s face in his hands and turned it toward him. Dexios had never seen him look afraid before, not even during the fiercest battle. “I will be with you.”

Lykon remained quiet as he searched Dexios’s face. He must have seen something there that reassured him because some of the tension left his body. “I admit, I am unsure about returning home again after these last few years. I am not the same person I was when I left. I have no desire to marry and tend to the land….”

He looked away, the silence falling rich with unspoken promise. Dexios held his breath, waiting to hear what Lykon would say next. Some answers could not be prodded and pushed for. Then Lykon slanted a glance at him and continued in a softer voice, “And I have no wish to be parted from you. You have caught me unawares. I did not realize you harbored such thoughts.”

“I did not realize it either until today. I do not think I could have borne it if you had died.”

Understanding flickered in Lykon’s eyes. “You stopped the spear. I had no doubt that you would. We have guarded each other’s backs well.”

Dexios brushed his thumbs over Lykon’s cheeks and the rough scrape of unshaven skin grounded him. Not knowing had become an agony that tore him open more than any gaping wound. “Say you will go with me. Please, I love you.”

A smile flickered over Lykon’s lips and he leaned closer to brush his mouth over Dexios’s. “Yes,” he whispered.

Dexios sat back on his heels as relief washed through him. He grinned and kissed Lykon hard on the mouth. “Say it again. Swear it. Swear it in her name.”

Lykon laughed and tugged Dexios down on the makeshift bedding with him. “I swear it by Cythera, and the waves that gave birth to her shall hear my vow. I love you, Dexios. I will go where you go and I will stay by your side.” He kissed Dexios before he could respond and said against his lips, “No more words. Show me that you want me.”

***

About the Author:

Marguerite has been accused of being eccentric and a shade neurotic, both of which she freely admits to, but her muse has OCD tendencies, so who can blame her? Her husband and son do an excellent job keeping her toeing the line, though.

Together with her co-author Fae Sutherland, Marguerite has found a shared passion for beautiful men with smart mouths. When she's not working hard on writing new material and editing completed work, she spends her time reading novels of all genres, enjoying role-playing games with her equally nutty friends, and trying to plot practical jokes against her son and husband. Her son is learning the tricks too quickly and likes to retaliate. You'd think she'd learn.

Email: marguerite@chasethedream.net
Website: http://www.margueritelabbe.com



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