Fantasy: High Fantasy books

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Mechanical Magic

The Laitha Chronicles

A Laitha Chronicles Tale

When Aster Genisov, a creator of mechanical novelties, is asked to help a wounded elf, his special talents and painful past could be the key to the elf’s survival.

Y’rean was born to touch the sky, but when his wings are destroyed by a cruel master, not even the life he begins to build with Aster can assuage his despair.  Aster has the means to help him—it’s written in his gypsy blood—but is love enough for Aster to face his past and embrace his talent for mechanical magic?

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Once, Ariston was a Guardian of the Kalliopolis, the perfect city designed by the Philosophers—Philosophers who, in their wisdom, replaced the imperfect human Guardians of Ariston’s generation with warrior machines. Phaleas Peneste, a poor farmer’s orphan the new Guardians rescued from the devastating winter that killed his family, now serves as their mechanic. Unhappy with their positions in the Kalliopolis’s new order, each man decides to escape, a coincidence that leads to their first meeting.

Afraid to risk his life in the wilderness beyond the Kalliopolis, Phaleas hesitates and is recaptured by the Guardians while Ariston discovers he doesn’t have anywhere to run. Back inside, they begin a secret affair, and Phaleas hopes that together, they might give each other the strength to escape the Kalliopolis forever… but first he has to convince Ariston to try again.

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The Dragon Tamer

2012 Award Winners
Bittersweet Dreams

Drake, a dragon master of the tamer clan, was barely a man himself when he saved the life of a youth burning with fever. Aedan, a fire mage, has dragon blood mingled with his own, creating such a tempestuous and volatile personality that it can literally burn him from the inside. Though Drake was able to calm the tumult enough to give Aedan a few years of peace, he knew that as the boy came of age, the fire in him would ignite once more.

When, years later, the effects of his fiery impulses force Aedan from the mage clan, his path crosses Drake’s again. Once more taming Aedan with a connection that joins them body and soul, Drake promises to protect Aedan forever—but he fears the day when “forever” might come to an end.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

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Wayward Grace

Steamcraft and Sorcery

A Steamcraft and Sorcery novella

Just after its crew rescues an Alchemist named Radley Timmons from a ship’s wreckage, the occasionally piratical Wayward Grace is pursued through a magical storm by the Anglican Navy, and the company ends up stranded on an island ringed by impassable mountains with an injured captain.

Crewman Keyfer Lockswit considers the diverse crew his family but cannot deny the attraction he has for their newest arrival—an attraction that proves mutual. But Radley has a secret, and the Navy wants it badly. So the crew is split: are they better off where they are or should they invent some way of escape? And if the crew of the Grace does find a way off the island, will Keyfer and Radley's blossoming love survive?

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The Vanguard’s Gift

2011 Advent Calendar | I'll Be Home for Christmas

Crispus Birchmount takes his responsibility to guard the gateway to the elven kingdom of Ashdale very seriously. But while the post itself is an honor, Crispus hates the human world—especially during the humans’ Christmas season when his elven ancestry is made into a mockery for the benefit of children! When he’s assigned to protect a young human, not even an altercation with a mall Santa can stop Crispus from locating Michel LeVandre, a unique man who awakens desires within Crispus he thought were long dead. The new distraction proves disastrous when enemy forces conspire to take the gate, but now Crispus has a human he really cares about and a renewed lust for life, and he’ll use the vanguard’s gift to defend Michel, the gate, and maybe the world.

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Burnt Offerings

Bittersweet Dreams

On his way home from the market, beautiful and shy Alen is accosted by local ruffians who try to take advantage of his innocence. When Alen attempts to defend his virtue, the situation takes a turn for the worse and he accidentally slays one of the men. Now he faces the mockery that is the town’s justice. The penalty for murder: a slow, painful death upon the altar of the mighty god of fire. Alen’s sentence is gleefully announced by the village priest, a loathsome man who promises deliverance if only the lovely boy will submit to depraved pleasures.

But Alen has a secret, one to which he desperately clings even though it may cost him his life. For many years, Alen has watched the flames dance in his mother’s hearth, the mystery that dwells in the bright glow alleviating his loneliness and offering endless fascination.  When the time comes to face his destiny upon the pyre, Alen hopes that the fire’s magical embrace might hold the key to his salvation. But will the flames herald his destruction even as all of his prayers are answered?

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

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Neriah, the crown prince of Tazier, escapes his father’s deadly wrath with the help of a Jinn named Tamir. Knowing that the other Jinn would find and punish him for falling in love with a human, Tamir takes Neriah’s memories of their brief time together and leaves him with only a jade pendant as a token of his love. Tamir is then stripped of his powers and imprisoned for his crime.

Ten years later, Neriah is still on the run from the King’s assassins, but each night he dreams of a lover whose face he cannot see and whose name he does not know, but who fills his heart with peace. Tamir, freed at last from his prison cell, poses as a pleasure slave and offers to serve the prince. Although Neriah does not recognize Tamir, he falls in love with the powerless Jinn. But just when Tamir has earned Neriah’s trust, he is forced to betray it. There may be no hope of mending their broken relationship, but Tamir is determined to see Neriah on his rightful throne—even if it costs the Jinn his life.

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All Tobias wanted to do was stop a robbery. On the way to Doctor Svoboda’s Clinic For Nervous Health, Tobias J. Poole finds himself confronting the famous airship robber Caledfryn H. Hawthorne. Tobias’s act of bravery doesn’t turn out quite as planned, and he finds himself caught in the famous villain’s clutches.

It’s not so bad, really; especially once Tobias meets young tradesman Philippe Carreleur. But Tobias was on that airship for a reason, and his past catches up with him at the most inopportune time. Will Tobias’s new friends be able to make sure his adventure ends happily, or is he destined to be treated for Nervous Health forever?

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After saving his younger brother’s child, Daemon Shar is cursed by a witch and runs far from home, a stray who will seemingly never be anything more. But destiny is hard to outrun, even for a man who is now more cat than man beneath his robes and cowl. A chance battlefield meeting between he and Ehron, a foreign lord, gives him purpose amidst the darkness of his accursed life. Soon Daemon finds that his true nature cannot be corrupted no matter the form he inhabits.

As Ehron’s consul, Daemon plots and plans to shape his new lord's future so that he may leave it blessed when he runs away yet again. But he never counted on his soul hungering for Ehron’s brother Gareth or for his past to catch him by the tail at last.

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There will always be a Hammer and an Air...

Graeme and Eirn have no words for what they are to each other. Children, clinging together in a crowded orphanage; friends, battling back to back in a school yard; and bedmates, finally bridging the gap between sleeping next to a body and allowing it to touch you in the night—all of these roles are summed up by just their names: Hammer and Air.

The innocent exploration of their newest roles is brutally marred when a violent, ill-tempered master threatens Eirn, and Eirn's "Hammer" kills the man in a fair fight. The two run off into the wide world with only each other for safety. It's difficult to forge a good life with only a blacksmith's hammer and a printer's cleverness, but together, Hammer and Eirn will learn to negotiate the dangers of magic and motion, of sex, obsession, and tenderness, and of the word that can make sense of it all—one word they must earn for themselves.

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For years, Aeolus has fought the Sirens, trying to rescue hapless sailors from their clutches, to no avail. When he encounters Nileas, the first man to heed his warnings in time to be saved, Aeolus at last has a chance to indulge his fascination with the world of men. As they begin the long journey back to Nileas’s home at the other side of the Mediterranean, sharing stories of their respective lives, it becomes apparent Nileas is just as fascinated with the world of the sea—and with the merman who saved him.

Despite the attraction growing between them, neither can see a way past the limitations of their races. Aeolus cannot live long on land, nor Nileas survive in the sea, but their love proves stronger than Aeolus’s determination to let Nileas go. Can they find a compromise that will let them share their lives, or will they need to challenge the gods for the right to be together forever?

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"I am not beautiful..."

Knife's entire existence has been as twisted as his flesh and his face. The only thing beautiful in his life is his sister. When Gwennie is obliged to turn a suitor down because she fears to leave her brother to the brutality of their village, Knife is desperate for anything to ensure her happiness.

Her suitor's cousin offers him a way out, but it won't be easy. Aerie-Smith has been cursed to walk upright in the form of a beast, and his beloved village suffers from the same spell. Aerie-Smith offers Gwen a trousseau and some hope, if only Knife will keep him company on his island for the span of a year and perform one "regrettable task" at year's end.

Knife is unprepared for the form the island's curse takes on his own misshapen body. In one moment of magic, he is given the body of his dreams—and he discovers that where flesh meets spirit and appearance meet reality, sometimes the only place to find truth is in the darkness of a lover's arms.

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It's while walking along a quiet road that Tion and Kail unexpectedly collide with Conway, a misguided man on a quest to resolve a potentially terrible truth: he's cursed with bad luck—bad luck that transfers to Tion and Kail in a most unexpected and inconvenient way!

Now they must aid Conway on his quest. Along the way, they'll meet duped villagers, a frighteningly ravenous "woof," and their only hope for salvation: a reluctant warrior wizard named Wylde who may be able to bring the trio, and himself, to an extraordinary happy ending.

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Jude Shea's life is turned upside down when he rescues a dog he names Joe. Even though Jude has enough trouble taking care of himself—he doesn't even have a job—he can't resist the animal that needs him. Then one night, a man shows up on his doorstep looking to claim Jude's new companion. As they run from a surprise attack, Jude finds out that "Joe" is not what he seems.

Eoin Thral is a guardian from an alternate dimension, and once he leads Jude through the veil that separates their worlds, he transforms into a handsome hulk of a man known for his fighting skills, not the capacity for love. Jude finds himself immersed in Eoin’s world, and he's faced with the fight of his life to secure a happy future for them both.

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The Summer Gardener

Lazy Days of Summer

Alejandro Moreno drops out of college and puts aside his dream of a degree in landscape design to take care of his mother and younger brother. Then he gets the chance to restore a strange and unpopular patch of land with an uncanny inhabitant—Fane, a prickly fairy.

At first, Alejo isn’t thrilled to share the space with the annoying fae, but as they work together on the neglected garden, both men discover they have two things in common: a love for working with the natural world and loneliness. But how can Alejo handle feelings for not just another man, but one who isn’t human at all?

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All Captain Gabel Telsun wants is to score a diplomatic success large enough to earn the money to purchase his own ship. He seems to have his chance on planet S-B73NF—all he has to do is get through just one night without offending anyone—but when a gorgeous concubine appears in his bed, all bets are off.

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After almost a generation of war, peace has come at last through the political marriage of a Mordyn princess to the prince of Ageselm. While escorting the bride, comrades-in-arms Rhicer and Kanath inadvertently drink a love potion intended for the newlyweds—and find themselves dealing with newfound desire for one another. As they struggle with their growing connection in a culture that despises same-sex love, Rhicer and Kanath face a terrible decision: give in to the social mores of their time and abandon love or answer the call of their hearts and leave Ageselm forever.

A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.

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Long ago, the great Snow Queen died of a broken heart, sending her magical world of dancing snow flakes and glittering icicles into a deep depression. Fearful of the same fate, her subjects sealed their hearts into an icy crystal for safekeeping, hoping to protect themselves and their future. For centuries, the communal Snowheart keeps the snow spirits of the north safe from their emotions, until a mischievous luck spirit steals the mystical crystal, intending to melt it down and extract its magical power at the cost of the snow spirits' lives.

Marmion Roy never dreams of such a frosted, wondrous world until a snow spirit invades his reality, his home, and his heart. Shirai demands his help to recover the Snowheart and annihilate the thieving luck spirit. Because Shirai is void of softer emotion, Mar believes that love with a brusque and literally heartless spirit would be impossible — at least until Shirai accidentally is reunited with his own personal part of the Snowheart.

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