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109,160 words; 324 pages
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Volume One of The Prince’s Boy collects chapters 1 through 56 of this wildly popular gay erotic web serial by Cecilia Tan. Begun on July 29, 2009, chapters were posted weekly, following the adventures of Prince Kenet and his whipping boy, Jorin. Drawing on complex themes of dominance and submission, the need for secrecy in a world where homosexuality is not accepted, and the intertwining of sex with magic, Tan weaves a complex, sex-filled adventure that is part Dumas’ “Three Musketeers” and part Anne Rice’s “Claiming of Sleeping Beauty.” The story concludes in The Prince’s Boy, Volume 2.
Cecilia Tan is “simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature,” according to Susie Bright. She is the author of many novels and short stories, editor of dozens of erotic short story anthologies, and the founder of Circlet Press. She was inducted into the Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame for GLBT writers in 2010. Her previous books include Black Feathers, White Flames, Edge Plays, The Siren and the Sword, The Velderet, The Hot Streak, and others.
Read an excerpt:
I have a memory that I know I cannot have. And yet it persists in my mind as clearly as any other memory. I remember her screaming. I remember my father holding her in his arms as she died. I remember him crying. You must understand, my father never cries. I cannot imagine him doing it. So it must be a memory, since I would never be able to conjure up such an image on my own. I remember them covering her face with a cloth, and bearing the body away. And then I remember my father collapsing into someone else‘s arms. A soldier dressed all in black.
Jorin says it can’t be a memory, because no one can remember when they were born. No one can remember that moment or the minutes afterward. But I remember my mother dying while bearing me.
So I’m either deluded, or different.
Jorin would say I’m both.
* * * *
My next earliest memory is of Jorin himself. We were probably three or four years old at the time? Far enough back it’s more likely closer to three. I could walk and talk and always understood more of what adults were saying to me than they seemed to think I gleaned. And I had gotten the knack of knowing when they were trying not to tell me something.
Which was how I knew when we went to the orphanage we were going there so I could pick out a boy of my very own. Oh, I know now how it was supposed to happen. I was supposed to play and socialize and eat with the children until my father or someone else decided on the child who would be my ladra’an and I was supposed to be none the wiser. But someone had let it slip, spoken of it where I could overhear, or maybe a maid even told me—that part I don’t remember. I do remember swaggering out into the play yard where a couple dozen boys were running about on the hard-packed dirt. I didn’t like how they were kicking up so much dust. I hadn’t been allowed near many other children before, and they seemed brutish and noisy. One of these was supposed to be mine?
“That one,” I said, though my handlers as usual were not paying attention to anything I said. I pointed to a dark-eyed, dark-haired boy, sitting by himself in the shadow of the stone building that was the orphanage, hugging his own knees.
I ran over to him and hugged him myself. “This one.”
Much hullaballoo ensued, in which they tried to detach me from him, several adults trying to physically pry us apart and telling me no-no-no, it wasn’t done like that. To them I shouted, “Mine!” and to him I whispered, “If you hang onto me, you’ll come to live in the castle with me.”
He didn’t answer, but clung to me as tightly as I did to him.
I held onto him all the way home in the carriage, as if he were a doll. They tried to separate us again at the castle, telling me he had to be cleaned up, but I suspected that if I let go then, I’d never see him again. I wasn’t stupid. I knew a guard wouldn’t be who would take him for a bath! Only a maid would do that. I pointed out I was just as dirty, now, too. My father finally relented when someone pointed out in a wry voice that if we were going to live inseparably, as a prince and ladra’an should, then they may as well leave us be and let the maids scrub us both.
I held his hand in the bath, because he was scared of everything. I could tell. He hadn’t said anything yet, but it was obvious that everything was strange and new to him. “It’s all right,” I kept telling him. “I’m a prince and I’ll protect you.”
They cleaned us up and presented us that night at banquet. I was just about falling asleep in a throne so large I could actually curl up sideways in it to sleep, when my father called for my attention. And for Jorin’s.
I hadn’t actually heard his name yet until my father bade him stand on his chair and speak it. Perhaps I thought I was going to name him, like a pet. That’s highly likely, though I’m not certain what was going through my child mind.
Now my father spoke to me in a stern voice. “You need to learn that you cannot just seize things you want, nor can you bite your guard because you disagree with him, nor is it seemly to shout at anyone, especially me, in public. That is three infractions.”
I didn’t know the word “infractions,” but it sounded dire and dangerous. A moment later a guard had seized Jorin, flipping him over one knee and pulling down his breeches where everyone in the room could see. I was horrified. What were they going to do?
“It’s also not seemly to strike the royal flesh,” my father said, coming to stand beside us, a stick in his hand. “So instead of striking you, Kenet, I will administer the punishment to your ladra’an.”
“No!” I was on the verge of tears.
He raised the stick and I shrank back, despite what he’d just said about not hitting me. “Do not make it worse. Three infractions.” And he proceeded to whip Jorin three times. Jorin bit his lip and made a horrible face, but he made no sound.
It was me who cried. I seized him the second the guard let him down, bawling my eyes out, terrified that now he’d hate me. I swore I’d never let them do that to him again. I refused to let go again, and Bear had to carry us both together to bed, and stuck us in it still in our clothes, and I cried until I fell asleep in Jorin’s arms. He was the one who took the punishment, not me, so why was I the one who was crying?
I suppose maybe that’s why having a ladra’an persists as a tradition. I learned my lesson, didn’t I?
And I suppose now you know everything you need to know about me and Jorin.
* * * *
It took me a long time to realize that being whipped in front of all assembled on his first day in the castle was no less a cruelty than Jorin expected. He hadn’t known exactly that his fate was to be my whipping boy, but he hadn’t expected life to be kind. The orphanage was not a kind place. The castle, at least, would be a step up. He told me this later, much later. Back then, he didn’t tell me anything, because he hardly ever spoke.
That did not bother me in the slightest as apparently I talked enough for us both. I have only the vaguest memory of that time. He slept in my bed with me and went everywhere with me, except for the meetings with my father, twice a week, the only times my father and I were ever alone, unattended.
Jorin started to speak more than just the occasional word to me after we began formal schooling. Reading, writing, mathematics, ancient tongues, and fencing. Until then I think most of the household believed him mute. But he had to speak when our tutor asked him for answers. He still almost never spoke to anyone but me. And why should he? What did he have to say to guards or maids or attendants?
We spoke the most at night. In whispers.
Some things have not changed, now that we are of age.
Jorin’s breath was sweet from chewing on sechal bark, and warm against my neck as he spoke. “Sergetten says he won’t teach me anymore,” he said.
“That’s ridiculous.” I was holding him close, our limbs entangled as usual. After banquet we’d sat on the stone edge of the balcony, just the two of us, chewing sechal and watching the stars fall until we’d gotten cold. And then we’d gotten in bed like we have done for more years than I can count, and wrapped around each other until sometimes I couldn’t tell which hand was mine. “He can’t teach me without teaching you.”
“I’m not so sure about that. He said I’m to start training with the heavy weapons, broadsword and axe. I’ll do that while you study political theory or something else that I won’t need to know.” His breath was warm and his lips brushed against my skin as he spoke.
Something sparked in my belly. “Jorin…”
He took his name as a cue to move subtly against me, lips now tracing a vein in my neck, no longer making a pretense of speaking. My blood surged and I knew he felt the hardness growing against his thigh. Was he hard, too? I couldn’t quite tell as we were, and I shifted in his arms. He rolled easily under me and I slid my cock, swathed in silk pajamas, against his. Yes, just as hard as I was. I shed my silk and pulled his down and then rubbed against him bare skin to bare skin, my back chilled by the night air but I didn’t care. Jorin was heat beneath me and I rutted against him for a while, until he pushed me to my side, slicked his hand with spit, and took both of our lengths in his grip.
I have no idea why his spit was always so much slicker than mine. Royal blood was supposed to be thicker than others’, wasn’t it? Was thin spit the trade-off? Or did he just have a knack I didn’t? I was grateful, though, as Jorin stroked us.
“Faster,” I rasped.
“No,” he said, a gleam in his eye. “You’ll spill too soon.”
“Hush and let me.”
I fell silent in acquiescence. He kept his strokes long and even, his thumb drawing a circle around the slick tips at the top of each stroke, mixing our dew together and keeping his grip slippery. Every now and then he would lick his palm to make sure, but his touch never felt rough or dry to me. “Jorin…!” I whispered with some urgency.
“Yes, Kenet, my prince?”
“I want… I want to come…”
“You will. Have I ever left you hard?”
“Seriously, Kenet, is it that you like to beg? Or do you actually think if you don’t, I might forget to finish you off?”
“You can’t talk to me that way!” I hissed. “I’m the Prince of Maldevar!” But it was a jest, and we both knew it, because in the night, in our bed, he whispered that sort of thing to me all the time.
“Yes, my prince,” he said, with infinite patience. “Of course, my prince.” He had added a twist to his stroke that robbed me of my ability to answer temporarily.
But once I could speak again, I couldn’t help myself. “Make me spill Jorin, and then you can finish yourself using my milk to make it slick.”
“Tempting,” he breathed. “But maybe it should be the other way around. Maybe I should spill all over your cock and then stroke you so hard you nearly go blind when you finish.”
“I… that… that would be acceptable, too.”
At that he just laughed and slowed his stroke even more.
To read the rest, download the ebook today!
In a fantasy world where male/male lust fuels Night Magic, Prince Kenet lives a sheltered life. Isolated from the war that threatens the kingdom, he and his whipping boy Jorin are of age, but still sneak forbidden pleasures in their bed at night. When a dark mage tries to bespell Kenet into sexual submission, the prince and his boy are thrust into the world of intrigue, sex, and war.
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