Good day lovely readers! Thank you for joining me. I am M.D. Grimm and I am here to promote my newest release, “A Priest, a Plague, and a Prophecy.” This is a single title involving a sweet man who enjoys food, plants, and books, and the manly (secretly sweet) orc warrior who falls in love with him. I am thrilled to finally publish this story. I finished it as the dreaded virus ramped up and decided to shelve it since it involves a plague. But the plague is an off-page impetus to certain events later in the book. Rest assured this is a sweet, low(er)-angst, no-sexy-times-but-lots-of-snuggles, sort of story. Elias is ace but wants romance, and Gurrkk is just the orc to give that to him!
Please enjoy the following excerpt!
Gurrkk was good at skulking.
He made his way to the back of the temple where there were large stone structures spaced regularly in neat rows. He moved closer to one and realized they were houses for the dead. What did humans call them? Crypts!
There were also circular gardens of various flowers, interspersed between the crypts. A few even had night-blooming flowers. Everything was well-tended, and Gurrkk approved. While orcs didn’t have such grand monuments to the dead, they were taught to respect those who’d come before. And around the fires during the evening, the elders would tell stories of events of the past, including all the heroes and villains. Of course, the humans were always the villains. But were they, truly? What of the merchants and of Eli?
The sounds of someone moving through the dark brought Gurrkk back to the present. He slipped behind one of the crypts and sniffed the air. That someone was coming closer, moving quickly, stumbling a bit. He squinted and took a deep breath. Eli’s heady scent, similar to that of baked bread, tickled his nostrils, and his eyes widened. Praise the spirits of his ancestors! He was now more assured of his path. If his ancestors approved then his choices had been the right ones.
He made sure that Eli was alone before making himself known. He waited for Eli to get closer before stepping from the shadows.
He almost laughed at the yelp and jump that Eli gave. He was such an expressive human, and it was entertaining to watch. His awkwardness and clumsy moments were rather adorable. None of that silliness would be tolerated among his people. Such children were beaten until they improved. And if they didn’t, they were exiled for weakness. To see it flourishing among the humans made him wonder how accurate his knowledge was of humans.
Was it weakness to them? Was it a sign of something important? Gurrkk wanted to know.
As he moved closer, he realized that Eli appeared spooked, and it wasn’t just because of him. Eli hissed words at him. Gurrkk recognized a few and interpreted the sentiment as, “What in the spirits’ names are you doing here?” Seemed the most logical first question.
Gurrkk crouched since he didn’t want to intimidate Eli with his size and strength. He didn’t mind looking up at the human, either. His skin was dark gold, similar to the shade of leaves when they fell from their branches before winter. And his eyes were a soft, dark brown, as was his short curly hair. Gurrkk had the intense urge to sniff and nuzzle his hair. He bet it was soft.
Instead, he pointed to Eli’s chest where he spotted the tooth’s outline. “Debt.”
Eli groaned and stared at the sky for a long moment.
Gurrkk waited, hyperaware of their surroundings. He didn’t like being in the open.
Eli yanked the cord from around his neck and held out the tooth, dangling it in front of Gurrkk’s face. Trying to give it back. Insulted and mortified, Gurrkk growled low, showing all his teeth and fangs. While he didn’t expect this human to understand the full significance of the tooth, Gurrkk had at least hoped Eli would understand the importance of a debt.
Eli grimaced but didn’t back down. He moved closer, cautiously, still holding out the tooth. Gurrkk pushed his hand away, a bit rougher than he should have, but his shame and mortification were deepening. To have a debt rejected was a smear on his reputation and honor. On his ancestors’ reputations and honor.
Honor. Gurrkk scoured his mind for the human word to convey that concept. He thought back to the merchants and when they talked amongst themselves when they thought no orc was listening.
He met and held Eli’s gaze before pounding his chest with his fist. “’on-or.”
Eli froze and squinted. He said a word and his tone was clearly confused.
Gurrkk repeated the pounding and the word, hoping it was the right one.
Eli let out a sharp breath. “Honor?”
Gurrkk nodded. Then he pushed Eli’s hand away, more gently this time. Eli swallowed hard and nodded reluctantly. He slipped the cord back over his head, and Gurrkk almost sagged with relief. He’d been afraid that Eli might drop the tooth and walk away. That would have severed the debt and left Gurrkk’s honor in the dirt. No, worse, in the shit pile. Even if he never spoke a word of it to his clan, his ancestors and the spirits would know, and no matter what he did for the rest of his life, no matter how honorable he was, he would still be lesser. He would still be soiled.
When Eli focused on him again, he pointed back at the temple before sliding his finger across his throat, then pointed at Gurrkk.
Gurrkk couldn’t argue with that.
Eli pointed at Gurrkk again before indicating the wall. Then he made a shooing gesture before pointing at the wall again.
Gurrkk shook his head.
Eli gripped his hair and let out a sound like an aborted scream.
How could Gurrkk explain without the benefit of a shared language? He flipped through his memory again for human words and wondered if he could string them together and be coherent.
Eli started to gesture at him again, repeating the previous ones, more emphatically and with a scowl. A cute scowl.
I am currently working hard on the final draft of the next The Shifter Chronicles. This will be book 16 (!), and will revisit the couple from book two, Love is a Whirlwind. This one is Blood of the Whirlwind, and I hope to have it ready for a January 2024 release.
As for this year, I have book 9 of The Stones of Power, Jade: First and Last available for preorder, due out in July 2023, and the first book in my Sisters of Song duology, titled Song of Flames will hopefully be ready by October. Flames will be a mmf involving two dragon mates and the woman thief who steals their hearts (instead of their treasure).
More information on my catalog can be found at my website. (Make sure to sign up for my newsletter!)
I hope you stay safe and healthy, and may dragons guard your dreams,