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Erlik Solongo is a buu, a Mongolian shaman who is heir to a spiritual tradition going back thousands of years. Following that tradition in modern-day California has its challenges, though: Erlik’s shamanic forebears probably didn’t have to balance the demands of the spirits with the financial and academic woes of grad school, much less with forays into a gay BDSM scene that’s not always friendly to dominant Asian men.
His shamanic abilities have their upside too, though: when a crazed gunman shows up on campus, Erlik turns out to be the only one in a position to stop him, saving the life of a young man named Paj. Instantly drawn to one another, Erlik and Paj soon tumble into a sexual relationship that might have the potential to become something more serious. But Erlik wants a relationship he can be open about, while Paj worries about his traditionally-minded family’s disapproval.
Veteran Circlet author Raven Kaldera brings together Mongolian religion and myth, the struggle to find a balance between tradition and modernity, and (of course) plenty of hot kinky sex in this gay BDSM erotic romance.
About the author: Raven Kaldera is the author of 34 books and innumerable short stories. He lives on a small homestead in Massachusetts with his polymorphously perverse polyamorous family, and a few goats, sheep, and chickens. ‘Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.
Look under the cut for an excerpt…
Erlik pulled up a chair next to the bedridden boy, and asked, “How’s the leg?”
“Well, they got the bullet out of it,” Paj said. “It only went into the muscle tissue, missed the bone and the artery, so I was luckier than I could have been.” His eyes were still devouring Erlik. “You meant what you said, about being a shaman, then? I wasn’t sure if you were kidding around.”
“No. I am a buu, or at least I am studying for it. I am bagshagui, which means that I don’t have a human teacher around, and I’m learning straight from the spirits.” He grinned wryly. “I’m also in school for Asian history and anthropology, because I have to do something in the real world as well. Besides, it might get me a grant to go to Mongolia.”
“Well, you certainly impressed my parents. Good thinking, asking them to get offerings for the spirits, although you’d have been out of luck if they’d converted to Christianity. They believe you’re for real now, at least.” Paj smiled nervously.
“I didn’t ask in order to impress your parents,” Erlik said calmly, the smile vanishing. “I did it because I need the offerings. It’s part of what keeps the wheels greased between me and my spirits.” He paused. “Do you believe I’m real? That I’m serious?”
Paj hesitated again. “I believe you’re serious. Whether I believe in all that traditional spirit stuff… I don’t know. I’ve been trying to get away from that, as fast as I can. To be modern. The traditional ways aren’t… good for me.”
“Why not?” Erlik asked. “I mean, I don’t know much at all about Hmong culture, and I’m not saying that there aren’t plenty of customs that we could do without, but… that sounded to me like you meant it personally.”
The youth in the bed turned his head away, and his voice was tight and angry. “I’m a disgrace to my family,” he said. “When I was lying there on the floor, shot and bleeding out, do you know what I was thinking? That my family would be happier if I was dead. According to the old ways, I’m better off that way.” His voice cracked, and then he went on, “And then you walked in like something out of some history book. My first thought, I kid you not, was that you were some spirit of the ancients, come to take me away to death. Except then you saved my life. And you’re not a spirit.”
“No,” said Erlik. “I just work for them. And for what it’s worth, my parents are completely assimilated—and I’m a disgrace to my family, too.” He smiled, and Paj let out a short, choking laugh in spite of himself. The moment lightened, and Erlik took a chance. “Of course, my own family disgrace is only halfway about the fact that I ran off to be some kind of superstitious juju-man. The other half of it is because I’m gay.”
Dead silence fell between them. Erlik waited, thinking, If he doesn’t say something in another few seconds I’m going to go back to being dead polite, and maybe excuse myself and sit in the hall until the parents arrive with my schwag. Boy, am I stupid. Should have kept my big mouth shut. And then, in a very small voice, Paj said, “So am I.”
A rolling wave of warmth seemed to pass out from Erlik’s heart to flow through his body, and he closed his eyes and smiled. Ah, thank you, Uncle. Now I see. “And your parents know, and they’re angry because you won’t be giving them grandchildren,” he said. “I understand.”
Paj turned back to look at him. “Yeah. I guess you would.”
“Do you have a boyfriend?” Erlik asked, trying to keep his voice casual, as if it was some small-talk triviality, but Paj jerked in surprise.
“I—no, of course not,” he said. “I’ve never even done anything. Except know. And say something about it, once. That was a mistake.”
Erlik stood up and came over to him. “Honesty is never a mistake,” he said, and took Paj’s chin in his hand, and leaned over. He stopped there, two inches from Paj’s face, and waited. If the youth had twisted away, or evaded his glance, he would have let go. Instead, Paj stared at him, breath coming hard, lips parting slightly, fear and desire in his eyes. That, Erlik realized, explained his intense stare. Fear and desire. He leaned over the rest of the way and sank his tongue into Paj’s mouth.
His hand moved around to the back of Paj’s neck and he held him firmly in place while devouring him. This is what it’s like when a man kisses you, boy. It’s not gentle. See, it starts out gentle for a moment, and then it’s animal, crushing into you, taking you. Will you give back as good as you get, or will you take it passively? Either is fine with me, but it will tell me who you are. Ah, you yield to me, you don’t even move your hands to encircle me. I see you now. I see you… and I will have you. Uncle sent you to me. He let go, abruptly, and smiled into Paj’s gasping face. “You could have said no,” he said, “if you didn’t want it.”
The other youth nodded, but didn’t speak. Erlik suddenly realized that his hands were still stained with dried blood. “I should use your bathroom,” he said softly, jerking his head at the small toilet room in the corner. “I’ve still got your blood on my hands.”
Paj’s breath came even harder. And that turns us both on, doesn’t it?
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Gay BDSM with a spiritual twist. When Erlik Solongo--modern Mongolian shaman, broke grad student, and experienced dominant--saves the life of a young man named Paj, the two men are instantly drawn to each other. They begin a sexual relationship that might even turn into something more. But Erlik wants a partner he can be open about, while Paj worries about disapproval from his traditional family.
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