Chainmail and Velvet, Book 2
How can two men stay together when they want different things?
Goss the healer and Pox the necromancer are complete opposites, but they’re madly in love. They’re also in trouble. After being trapped in a dungeon, Pox discovers he likes bondage and wants to explore a steamier sex life, while Goss is preoccupied with fatherhood and duty.
As the two take on the quest of reuniting a little girl with her family, Goss gets attached. He wants to give up adventuring and raise the girl as their own. Pox isn’t ready for that kind of settling down, but he’s not ready to give up Goss, either!
**This gay romantic comedy contains sexually explicit scenes.
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Families/Raising Kids, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Opposites Attract
Word Count: 26000
Setting: Kingdom of Trillelagh
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
I feel like crying but I’m too dehydrated. It’s difficult to breathe. My long hair is pasted to one side of my face with blood and filth. My breath crackles and my chest hurts. I’m not sure, but I think I have a fever. If Gossamer were here, he’d be able to heal me. I miss him more than I can bear. Everything went wrong. Everything. And it’s all my fault.
The great beast in the cell next to mine pokes a talon through the bars as if he senses my sadness. He fills almost the entire cell. I think they might have broken one of his wings shoving him into it. The thought makes me sick to my stomach.
My one solace is that we freed the immigrants the Golden Tower wizards were using in their foul experiments. We accomplished the one thing I’ve wanted to do since leaving the Golden Tower almost a year ago, fleeing for my life. I only wish we had all escaped this time.READ MORE
I stretch my manacled hand as far as I can reach and stroke the proffered talon. “I’m so sorry, Puff-puff,” I whisper.
Both of the monster’s snowy-maned, necks are chained, both lionlike heads are muzzled. Nevertheless, a purr rumbles through the great chest, and one head murmurs. “He’s all right. I’m staying until I know he’ll be safe.” He answered the question he knew I wanted to ask.
The ‘he’ the noble beast Puff-puff speaks of is my love, the warrior priest Gossamer. Puff-puff is Goss’ faery godmonster. Whenever Goss is terribly injured, Puff-puff, who lives in the faery realm and looks like a gigantic, snow white, two-headed lion with wings, changes places with him.
I’m used to seeing Puff-puff plow through enemies as if they were children’s toys. The evil wizards of the Golden Tower have proven to be more than a match for him and my band of friends. “If he has healed, Puff-puff, why don’t you let him take your place for a while? You need to heal yourself.”
Puff-puff wheezes and one head stares at me. I can see pain in his eyes. I curse my stupidity for getting us trapped here. “Necromancer,” the head says wearily.
“Pox,” the second head corrects. “We call him Pox now.”
“Necromancer,” insists the first head, “you only say this because you want to see Gossamer.”
I do want to see Goss, but I’m also worried for Puff-puff’s health. Puff-puff is a stubborn creature. I’m scared he will stay here until he dies if he thinks he’s keeping Goss safe. I know that he and Goss are connected. I use this to my advantage. “I’m hurt, Puff-puff. I think one or more of my ribs is broken. One of my lungs might be collapsed. It’s hard to breathe, and I’m in so much pain. Goss could heal me.”
The heads say nothing for a moment, then the one that calls me ‘necromancer’ sighs. “Gossamer will want to heal you.”
“Heal you,” echoes the second head.
“But I’ll be back if he needs me.”
The second head adds with a haughty sniff, “And I’m sure he’ll need me.”
I stroke the talon through the bars. “I love you, Puff-puff.” My initial fear of the fae creature has all but vanished. As my party’s leader, Kiona, says, ‘Puff-puff is the most magnificent creature in all of the realms.’ There was a time I wasn’t sure about that. Now, I believe it with my whole heart.
Puff-puff seems to turn into a mist. The chains and muzzles fall to the floor. Luckily no one’s close enough to hear the noise. In another moment, Goss is sitting amid the chains and leather. Goss. Chains. Leather. Ungh. My head goes to other places.
Goss lunges at the bars. His armor is smeared with blood, but he looks as healthy as ever. And as handsome as ever. I reach for his hand and stretch my head and body as close to him as I can get. He’s able to squeeze one muscled arm through the bars to grasp my hand. He closes his eyes. There’s a little flash of light. Where he touches me, my skin grows cold. Something like ice travels up my arm, takes over my chest, spreads through my entire body.
I breathe more freely and feel like myself again. I truly was injured. The whole thing wasn’t a ruse. I kiss his big knuckles. I can’t stop kissing him. I don’t realize I’m crying until teardrops fall on his skin.
“Oh, Pox,” he says in his gentle voice. “I didn’t mean to worry you.”
“It’s not just that.” I sniffle. “I’ve led us all to our deaths.”
“Graw,” says the girl in the cell opposite mine. She is skinny and long-limbed, somewhere between five and seven. She reminds me of a starving, bug-eyed cat with mange. She is staring at Gossamer with wide eyes. “Graw!!!”
A man that I assume to be her grandfather is slumped over in the cell with her. He doesn’t look so good. His skin is gray and he kind of looks like he’s melting. It’s hard to say if he stinks, because this whole place reeks of death.
Gossamer, because Goss has never met a stray he didn’t like, stands up and starts talking to her. She hops up and down. “Graw! Graw!”
“Goss, love, this place wasn’t fun before, must you stir up some half-wit besides?”
Goss gives me one of his puppy dog looks. (Yes, the man has several. I think he collects them.) “Can’t you see that the poor thing’s grandfather has died in the cell with her?”
“Right. Unless she killed him.”
Goss sighs. “Maybe with enough force, I can push a serenity spell to her from here.” Goss sticks his arm through the bars. He stretches his hand toward the girl, pointing his palm toward her. White light swirls around his hand. Goss furrows his brow and heaves a deep breath.
The girl squeezes out from between the bars and grabs his hand with a humongous smile on her face. “Graw! Graw!”
I half expect her to start chomping on Goss’ arm. Instead, she soaks up the spell, squeezes through his bars, and hugs his waist like he’s her long lost boyfriend. Goss pats her back and acts just as happy to see her, because…well, he’s Goss.
He kneels and looks directly into her bedbug-crazy eyes. He strokes her wispy blonde hair. I fear he might be catching some sort of mites. Before I can say anything, he says to the girl. “What’s your name, little one?”
He nods, as if he speaks lunatic. “Lady Grawgraw, do you think you could help us get out of here?”
Lady Grawgraw stares at him with wide eyes. She sticks her fingers in her mouth; maybe that helps her think. Or maybe she likes the taste of death and feces.
Goss turns to me. “Have you seen where they keep the keys?”
“Oh.” I suddenly understand his interest in the waif. As a great necromancer, I’m infinitely more intelligent than Goss, but he does have good ideas sometimes. “I think I’ve seen the guards hang them on a nail over there on that wall.”
Goss smoothes his hands down Lady Grawgraw’s stringy arms. “Can you get the keys over there, from that wall, and bring them to me?”
The girl looks at him fearfully. She hugs him again and sniffles. Goss gives her a big squeeze. “We won’t leave you. I promise. You’re coming with us.”
“Seriously?” I can’t abide half-wits. They make my skin crawl.
Goss stares at me with stern green eyes. “She’s getting the keys. We’re going to protect her and help her escape.”
Lady Grawgraw runs back with the keys and slips back into her cell. Goss is crestfallen. “Don’t you want to escape?”
Grawgraw pulls some moldy old manuscript out of her dead grandfather’s moldering pants and runs happily back to Goss. Goss unlocks his cell, unlocks mine, then frees me of my chains. He hands me the manuscript.
“Yay. Toilet wipes.”
“Look at it. It seems like some wizardly thing. Maybe we can use it to find out more about her. At least take care of it for her.”
I sigh and buckle the nasty thing to my belt. Wizardly thing. Bah. Goss thinks anything he can’t read is a wizardly thing.
Goss takes Grawgraw’s hand and magically shields her. The picture of confidence, he smiles down at her. But when he turns to me, worry lurks in those beautiful forest green eyes.
Reflexively, because I love him so, I reassure him. “We can do this,” I tell him. But I fear we are going to our deaths.