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Marked by Kane

by H. J. Perry

A monster of a man rescued me from a bleak, harrowing situation. He says I’m his missing slave and now he wants to keep me.

His personal slave. KWIM?

And he doesn’t just expect me to service his massive

ego

He wants me to love him in the same way that he loves me.

And live with him in a world where clothing is entirely optional.

It sounds crazy to admit I feel I found my soulmate. My home. Where I belong.

I have little to lose. No parents, no job, no place in college.

And as for the bullies who’ve taunted me through high school, they are gonna think twice about what they’ve done if they ever see me with HIM.

But am I ready to sacrifice everything I know to live so far away that it is out of this world?

Time races on, and I have to decide.

This steamy new adult, low-angst romance is a rewriting of a fantasy book entitled Hunter, first published in 2017.

  • Can be read as a standalone.
  • No cheating.
  • A happy ever after guaranteed.
  • 44,000 words.
Excerpt:

This is not the time for an erection.

Standing in the auditorium wing, Pip Underwood faced the biggest day of his life so far, and yet he almost brought embarrassment on himself. Only the smock-like graduation gown saved his modesty.  

It was completely wrong to even think about last night’s dream, no matter how much he enjoyed it at the time. Try as he might to resist the memory: he simply wasn’t that strong. It was too good.

The unscrupulous monster who kidnapped him wanted to keep him as a personal sex slave. Survival required satisfying his master’s massive—needs. But that was only in his dreams.

Pip had woken up in quite a mess. 

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Even as he’d loaded his bedding into the washing machine, the full recall brought a smile to his face and swelling in other areas. 

His master had been a giant of a man—all over, and he tasted delicious. He was a King, he could have anyone, but he only wanted Pip.

And Pip doubted anything in real life would ever be as good as that dream.

He picked at the hem of his forest-green graduation robe nervously, working a loose thread between his fingers. 

The graduation cap he wore squeezed his head a little too tightly and prickled his scalp. Both made of rich wool, the cap and gown were too hot for the final semester of his school life.

The urge to scratch grew stronger, but Pip ignored it and rolled the thread against his thumb. A little discomfort meant nothing compared to a future life of freedom away from high school.

Gazing down the line of students, each one a familiar face to Pip, all silent and apprehensive. Everyone stood waiting in line for their turn to collect their certificate to thunderous applause. There were a little over sixty kids, and he’d been in class with every one of them, at one point or another.

Stacy Hart checked her reflection in a compact mirror and fingered a curl behind her ear, then winked at herself and tucked the mirror back in her pocket. Patrick Medes elbowed his best friend, Stuart Mendez, as the line advanced. Even shy, introverted Erin Weston had come out of her shell for the occasion, but still not wanting to attract attention, she tried to make herself as small as possible. She stood just behind Pip.

As the line advanced, Pip stepped forward with it and stared at the space between Oli’s broad shoulder blades.

Only Greg Lidl, Pip’s best friend in his graduation class, missed the ceremony.

Rolling the thread a little more nervously, Pip stole another glance in the direction of Oli Stevens. They stood close together in the line by virtue of their last names, with only a few people between them. Thankfully, so far, Oli hadn’t seemed to notice Pip’s presence. Oli played defense on Beaumont High School’s football team, and he and his friends had made Pip’s life hell since he’d come to Beaumont in his freshman year, following the death of his parents.

Graduating meant that Pip would never have to see them again. The end of school brought the end of shared lunches, a welcome end to forced group projects, and the relief of no more embarrassing locker room incidents.

Pip wouldn’t miss any of it.

Oli glanced over his shoulder and directly at Pip, undoubtedly sensing the gaze burning into the back of him. Pip stifled a gasp and looked away. Too late. The line had come to a stop again, and with so many other students still waiting to walk onto the stage, there was no escape. 

As Oli cut the line, heading for him, Pip shrank back and bumped into Erin, who whimpered and scrambled until she had backed up against the wall. Pip couldn’t draw her into this. With nowhere left to go, he had to stand his ground.

He’d lowered his head, hoping that Erin’s technique of shrinking away might save him.

It didn’t.

In his dream, his master had been the biggest, badest, and scariest man in existence, and no one would have dared to mess with Pip when they knew exactly who he belonged to. But it was only a dream.

The polished toes of Oli’s dress shoes appeared in Pip’s line of sight.

“Well, well, well, look who we have here,” Oli mused. The familiar sneer on his face. “The Pipsqueak himself, looking sharp tonight. Did you save all your lunch money to buy those shoes, or did someone take pity on you and buy them for you?”

“I bought them myself.” Pip looked back down at his standard black, glossy dress shoes. They were much like the ones Oli wore. “I worked odd hours at the grocery store this semester to make sure I had enough spare cash.” 

Stop talking.

He didn’t owe Oli an explanation, but it came out of his mouth, nonetheless.

“You’re shitting me,” Oli said with a laugh. He stepped forward, shrinking the space between them. 

Pip didn’t look up and lock eyes with the bully, but backing up wasn’t an option either, not with Erin and the wall there. 

“Who would hire the Almighty Underbite? Seems like a waste of money to me. Too small and weak to haul things off a truck and too ugly to put on the cash desk. What did they have you do? Clean the bathrooms?”

“I stocked the shelves,” Pip mumbled.

Pip would endure if the brunt of Oli’s attacks were limited to verbal jabs. Sometimes, the aggression of Oli and his friends turned physical. Brush off their hateful words was a lot easier than handling things when they hit him.

“I bet. You know all about fitting things in tight spaces, don’t you?” Oli sneered.

Pip cringed. It might have been a jab at his sexuality. He couldn’t be sure what Oli referred to and had no intention of asking, thereby extending this conversation any longer than necessary.

Although Oli and his tribe had previously mocked Pip for being gay, as far as he knew, they had no idea of the truth—Pip wasn’t exactly out about it, and his nonexistent sex life (outside of his fantasies) meant there wasn’t much to tell.

“Crammed into lockers, stuffed into toilets, rolled up tight in yoga mats…” Oli continued, relieving some of Pip’s worry about being truly seen and dragged out of the closet. “They’re all the things you’re good at.”

He said nothing but recalled every one of those incidents.

“I wonder if it isn’t your true calling in life.”

It wasn’t; Pip knew this for certain.

He sensed doing good or even great things for the world lay ahead as his destiny. He just hadn’t discovered what exactly. Somewhere, somehow, he had a vocational calling waiting to be discovered.

He thought college would take him further along his path to whatever he was eventually going to do. But to study what? He didn’t have a clue. For now, without the resources to fund himself, Pip had struck college temporarily from his list of immediate options in life. 

His Aunt Lauren and Uncle Joe couldn’t afford to send him on their own dime—but one day, he hoped to find his way and discover more to life than high school bullying and dead-end, minimum-wage jobs. 

Oli clapped his hand against Pip’s chest and pushed him back.

Erin gasped. Her heels clicked as she scurried sidewards, away from the fight.

“Underwood, Underbite, Underdog. You’re always going to be under someone, aren’t you, Pipsqueak?”

“No,” Pip whispered.

“What did you say?” Oli demanded.

Pip pursed his lips. He didn’t repeat himself.

“I thought so,” Oli said. He grabbed Pip by the front of his robes and yanked him forward. “Not even your parents could stand being around you, and you know that? They’re probably the only people you’re going to stand over, and that’s only because they’re so many feet underground.”

“Oliver!” Mrs. Truman, the history teacher, scolded. Oli released Pip’s robe and stepped back. “Get back into line! We’re moving. Come on!”

Oli shot Pip a look that promised it wasn’t over, and Pip let his shoulders drop and did his best not to engage Oli again. The tiniest things set him off, it seemed. Pip looked forward to the day he wouldn’t have to worry about looking in the wrong direction, or wearing the wrong thing, or saying something that got on Oli’s nerves.

And that day would be tomorrow, he realized with a smile. Graduation on this day meant freedom the next. Freedom from school, at least.

He might still run into Oli and his buddies in the streets of their small town. Eventually, Pip would find a way to leave Beaumont altogether, and with it, every moment of anguish he’d endured in it.

And maybe he’d fall in love in the process. 

He wanted a boyfriend so badly. At eighteen, he’d never held hands with a boy and certainly never wanted a girlfriend. He’d still not shared his first kiss. Over the past few years, his hormones had gone into overdrive. He needed romance and physical contact with his one true love.

Seeing other couples around school and in the community made his heart long for what they had; he ached to do those same things with someone special. 

Just as there had to be a vocation for him, out there somewhere, his one true love must also wait for him.

Beaumont wasn’t exactly a haven for nontraditional relationships, and Pip didn’t dare harbor crushes, let alone let himself look for love, in such a tight-knit community.

Already the new kid, the impoverished orphan who came to live with his relatives while his life fell apart after his parents died, Pip didn’t want to draw himself into the spotlight any further. He didn’t need any other rumors spread about him. He only wanted to blend into the community. To be forgotten and ignored would’ve been perfect.

Pip shifted his jaw, running a hand along it to try to assure himself that he didn’t have an underbite. 

Oli strolled across the stage to accept his diploma and pose with the principal for pictures, leaving just a short wait for Pip’s turn.

Freedom would follow. 

Sometimes, Oli’s bullying made it hard to remember his jaw issue had been fixed in middle school. He’d been retainer-free for years, underbite a thing of the past. Social media didn’t forget, though, and the bullies at school had seen his old photos.

Pipsqueak. Almighty Underbite.

He supposed, at least, they were more inventive insults than just plain loser.

He heard Gregory Tullen’s name announced from the stage, and Mr. Alcorn, the math teacher, ushered the boy through the auditorium wing and across the stage. 

Pip stepped up, looking out through the wing and across the audience. Principal Kendrick stood with Vice Principal Dunn as Gregory made his way across the stage. There were only a few diplomas left; the graduation ceremony was almost over.

Mr. Alcorn returned to the wing of the stage and recited the speech that he’d given to every young person in turn. “When they announce your name, you’ll cross the stage and shake hands with Principal Kendrick. She’ll offer you your diploma, and as it’s changing hands, you’ll stop and count to three slowly while also looking toward the audience and smiling. When Principal Kendrick releases the diploma, you’ll continue across the stage and take the next available seat in the front row of the auditorium.”

“Got it,” Pip said with a slight nod of his head.

He craned his neck to glance into the auditorium. With the lights beaming down on the stage and the sitting area plunged into darkness, the audience was out of sight, but the hall was stuffed full of parents and students. The air tasted of too many bodies in a small, humid, poorly air-conditioned school building.

“And Pip?” Mr. Alcorn asked.

“Yes?”

“Congratulations.”

Pip smiled. All the teachers at Beaumont had been wonderful—regrettably, he couldn’t say the same for the students.

Mr. Alcorn patted his back, and before Pip knew it, his name was called out.

“Pip Underwood.”

“That’s your cue,” Mr. Alcorn said. “Go for it.”

Pip bowed his head and stepped forward with his heart racing. Being front and center before a crowd of strangers couldn’t appeal less, but it was the final trial of high school and certainly not the worst. Pip just wanted it all over and to get out of the place for good. As he stepped out into the bright lights, the audience applauded politely. Pip’s cheeks heated, and he focused his attention on walking across the stage until he’d successfully made it to Principal Kendrick without tripping over his own feet.

“Hi, Pip,” Principal Kendrick said softly. “Congratulations.”

She held out her hand for him to shake, and Pip did so. Flashlights exploded in the audience—school photographers taking pictures for the yearbook, he guessed. Or professional photographers looking to make a buck off parents.

Vice Principal Dunn handed Principal Kendrick the diploma, and Pip grasped his end of it and slowly counted to three. More camera lights flashed, accompanied by a single, whooping cheer from the audience. He grinned at the recognizable sound of his Uncle Joe. 

Aunt Lauren couldn’t make it due to work, but the clapping and cheering from enthusiastic Uncle Joe more than compensated for her absence.

They were terrific guardians, even if they had their disagreements from time to time. Pip considered himself lucky. Not every teenage orphan got a happy ending. If bullying was all he had to deal with, then his time at Beaumont was a success. A rickety achievement, but considering his circumstances, a success nevertheless.

“Go on and take your seat,” Principal Kendrick whispered. She released the diploma.

Pip smiled at her one last time. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. And congratulations again.”

As Pip headed past her for the stairs leading into the audience, Erin Weston’s name rang out, and the attention shifted to the next pupil. Pip breathed out a sigh of relief, took the stairs quickly, and then dropped into the empty chair next to Gregory.

They’d all finally made it.

Pip beamed into the darkness and let his head fall to rest on the back of the chair. His mind wandered. With no idea about what came next, now his school career had finished. He had plenty to consider. He’d intended to find his own way in this big, wide world. At only eighteen, it seemed the right time to dream of bigger things. Adventure. Mystery. Suspense. Excitement.

First, Pip needed to meet up with Greg to celebrate. In quarantine, combating an outbreak of shingles, Greg lived in a weird state of in-between, where he was well enough to do things around the house and lead a normal life, but not yet well enough to venture outside.

That didn’t mean Pip couldn’t go to see him.

Once cocktail hour ended and the graduation party split up, Pip planned a full night ahead, celebrating with Greg.

The end of one chapter in his life brought closer the beginning of another.

What a chapter he intended to make it.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

HJ Perry (Gay romance author) AKA Helen Jayne (Lesbian Romance author)

She lives in the English countryside not too far away from Manchester.

Based on the advice, write what you know, HJP writes books about Queer people and England where, for the most part, LGBT people are treated with the same respect as anyone else.
Having worked in the construction industry for years in real life, the fictional characters also often work in that macho, male-dominated environment.
HJP has also been a political activist campaigning around LBGT issues since the 1980s.

You will find lust, sex, desire and love in these books and always a happy ending.
Often a happy start, happy middle and very little angst too.

She writes happy books that are the sort of stories she, as a queer woman, wants to read.
They are for an adult audience.